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Pets and the Aging: Science Supports the Human-Animal Bond

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In April 2003, PAWSitive InterAction held its second annual educational summit — “Think PAWSitive! 2003: Pets and The Aging” — in Atlanta, Georgia, to explore current scientific thinking about the important role pets play in the lives of people as they grow older. With 76 million aging baby boomers in the United States today, the summit provided vitally important information by bringing together thought leaders in the field to explore the science behind the human-animal bond.
The 2003 summit, hosted at Emory University in collaboration with the Emory Center for Health in Aging, brought together experts in geriatric medicine, oncology, psychiatry, veterinary medicine and senior living to discuss scientific research, case studies, anecdotal evidence and trends that validate the therapeutic benefits of the bond between humans and animals. This paper is a summary of the key presentations at the summit.
Presenters included:
• Dr. Edward Creagan, professor, Mayo Clinic Medical School, American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology, The John & Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine and member of the Advisory Board for PAWSitive InterAction
• Dr. Rebecca Johnson, associate director for research, Center of Excellence on Aging, University of Missouri-Columbia
In addition, Dr. Sandra Barker, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, and member of the Advisory Board for PAWSitive InterAction, led a panel discussion with local experts on “Pets as Social Support for the Elderly.”


Katie Carroll

Date April 2003
Publisher PAWSitive InterAction, Inc.
Location of Publication Atlanta, Georgia
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aging
  2. Animal-assisted activities
  3. Animal-assisted therapies
  4. Assisted living facilities
  5. Cats
  6. Dogs
  7. Horses
  8. Hospices
  9. Hospitals
  10. Human-animal bond
  11. Human-animal interactions
  12. Long-term care facilities
  13. Mammals
  14. Nursing homes
  15. Older adults
  16. Pets and companion animals
  17. Well-being