VMP Events

Bustad Lectures @ WSU: Alan Beck, ScD

Katy Heaton

Alan Beck, ScD

  • 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13 – Bustad Lecture Series “The Importance of Animal Companionship: Implications to Human and Animal Health” with Alan Beck, ScD in ADBF 1002
  • 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13 – Bustad Lecture Series Reception in the Mickelsen Lounge

The Importance of Animal Companionship: Implications to Human and Animal Health

The human family has contained domestic animals for thousands of years. Presently, more than 60% of U.S. households have animals and almost half have more than one animal. But the sheer numbers of pet animals is only one aspect of the “pet experience.”

It is well documented that people denied good human-human interaction do not flourish. One way people can be protected from the ravages of loneliness is animal companionship. Early laboratory and specific setting observations of people with animals encouraged a period of research to identify, document, and assess the beneficial health implications of our relationship with companion animals. All indications are that companion animals play the role of a family member, often, a member with the most desired attributes. Ordinary interactions with animals can reduce blood pressure and alter survival after a heart attack. Pets, for some, afford increased opportunities to meet people, while for others pets permit people to be alone without being lonely. Elderly pet owners appear to experience less stress and require fewer visits to their physicians than non-owners do. Animals play a major role in a child’s development as they are often the child’s first opportunity to provide nurturing for another, an important behavior to learn. In special settings, there are many increasing therapeutic roles for animals.

The relationship between people and companion animals has significant implications for both human and animal health—humans and animals are an important part of the each other’s natural environment and many therapeutic uses of animals are now recognized.

Alan Beck, ScD Faculty Profile:

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