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Paws for Thought: The Importance of Dogs in a Seniors Social Intervention

By Elisa Maria Concetta Papotto, Jessica Lee Oliva Dr

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As Australia faces an aging population with an unprecedented life expectancy, it is the community’s obligation to ensure seniors are offered resources to support their well-being. Studies investigating loneliness in aged-care facilities attest to the therapeutic properties of dogs for residents’ sense of well-being. Consequently, this study aimed to ascertain the effectiveness of a community-based dog lover’s initiative for the self-management of well-being among senior citizens. Our qualitative research investigated whether community gatherings including dogs would produce greater feelings of subjective well-being among senior citizens compared to community gatherings without dogs. A conventional content analysis provided support for the supposition that dogs address some of the unmet needs of senior citizens by increasing well-being. The multitude of benefits provided by this human-animal friendship undeniably merits inclusion as a community initiative aimed at improving both the well-being of our senior citizens and the health of the community at large. It is anticipated that these findings will inspire a new field within social gerontology dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond via community initiatives.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
Volume 2
Issue 1
Pages 16
Publisher Purdue University Press
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Australia
  3. Human-animal relationships
  4. Loneliness
  5. Older adults
  6. open access
  7. Pets and companion animals
  1. open access