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HABRI-Funded Research to Explore Effects of Service Dogs on Autistic Children, Caregivers

The project is led by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The Human Animal Bond Research Institute has announced funding for a new research project led by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate the effects of service dogs on children with autism spectrum disorder and their caregivers. The two-year grant from HABRI will enable the research team to conduct a study quantifying the therapeutic effects of service dogs on children with ASD and their caregivers in collaboration with service dog provider Canine Companions for Independence.

“While anecdotal evidence suggests service dogs may benefit children with ASD, there is a need for published data on this subject,” said the study’s principal investigator, Marguerite O’Haire an associate professor of human-animal interaction, who is part of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. “As the largest and most extensive study on service dogs for children with ASD and their caregivers to date, we expect the findings to provide critically-needed outcomes for this increasingly prevalent application of the human-animal bond.”

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The study, called the Purdue Canines for Autism Research Study, or Purdue CARES, will compare up to 50 families engaging in usual care that have an ASD service dog with up to 50 families engaging in usual care while on the waitlist to receive a service dog. Participation will include caregivers completing a 30- to 60-minute online survey and facilitating three mornings of saliva collection with the child to measure cortisol, a stress hormone. O’Haire and Purdue co-investigators Kerri Rodriguez, Mandy Rispoli and Bridgette Kelleher along with Evan MacLean of the University of Arizona will conduct the study, which focuses on children diagnosed with autism who range from ages 4 to 17. The researchers will compare the symptoms of children who currently have service dogs in the home and those who are on a waiting list for a service dog. They also will assess participants’ cortisol levels, a biomarker involved in the stress response system, as well as reports of their sleep habits provided by their caregivers. “These findings will be some of the first empirical data behind what now is largely only qualitative evidence, and will allow parents, psychologists, and providers to know what to expect from these placements,” said Rodriguez.

Study participants are being recruited from Canine Companions for Independence, one of the largest providers of assistance dogs in the United States. Service dogs provided by Canine Companions for Independence are purpose-bred Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, or Golden-Labrador crosses specifically trained for skills and tasks that help mitigate the child’s autism symptoms.

The study also will also evaluate the impact service dogs have on caregiver and family functioning through a caregiver report. “We are excited to take a family-wide approach to studying how an autism service dog integrates into the home,” Rodriguez said. “Specifically, our innovative study will not only measure the effects that a service dog may have on child functioning, but also the parents’ functioning and overall family dynamics.”

“HABRI is proud to have funded a number of now-published studies demonstrating the positive impact of the human-animal bond for children with autism and their families, from improving social skills and family functioning to decreasing caregiver stress,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “HABRI’s grant to Dr. O’Haire and her team at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is unique from these other projects in that its focus is on the impact of service dogs, which unlike pets, are not only specially trained to perform tasks but also have special access to public places, enabling them to be with the child constantly. HABRI is thrilled to be supporting new, promising research investigating a different, yet important aspect of the human-animal bond for children with ASD and their families.”

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PETS+ Live with Candace D'Agnolo

This North Carolina Pet Business Thrives by Creating Unforgettable Customer Experiences

Catch the replay of this PETS+ Live! webinar hosted by Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation. This episode featured Wendy Megyese of Muttigans in Emerald Isle, NC. Learn about ways to combat the big boxes and online — the key is to give your customers an experience they can’t get anywhere else — and learn why the business was honored in the 2018 PETS+ America’s Coolest Stores contest.

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Holistic Care Webinar Replay Available Online

Topics include CBD, herbs, essential oils, and supplements.

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(PRESS RELEASE) On Nov. 2, CBD Dog Health’s founder Angela Ardolino partnered with Gregori Lukas of THEO Pet Grocery to host CBD Sessions. The free educational event featured a panel of holistic veterinarians including Dr. Gerald Buchoff, Dr. Beth Hirsch and Billy Hoekman from Answers Pet Food. The panel and presentation include information on how to holistically care for both cats and dogs with CBD, herbs, essential oils and supplements.

Pet parents who tuned in live can see their questions answered by the panel. Answers include information about Cushing’s disease, endocrine disorders, gut health, diet changes, diarrhea and constipation, what full-spectrum hemp oil means and why it is important.

To see the replay, click here. To learn more about safely caring for your pet with holistic methods, visit angelaardolino.com

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Feeders Supply Opens a Third Location in Lexington, KY

It has 24 locations across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

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(PRESS RELEASE) Feeders Supply Company, “The Pet Lovers Store,” has announced the opening of its third location in Lexington, KY, in the Millpond Shopping Center. To celebrate, Feeders Supply is having a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 13th, followed by a five-day grand opening festivity.

“We are excited to increase Feeders Supply’s presence in Lexington,” said Brannon Dixon, CEO of Feeders Supply Company. “Our third location confirms our commitment to provide premium products to Lexington area pet lovers. Feeders Supply is proud to be Kentucky owned and operate for over 60 years.”

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The newest Lexington location features more than 11,000 square feet of space, with four private self-serve pet wash stations, expansive fish department, obedience training for dogs, plus a community event space to host adoption events with Lexington Humane Society and other local rescue organizations.

To kick-off the grand opening, the first 30 customers each day from Nov. 13 -17 will receive a gift bag filled with premium products, $5 pet washes, and will be able to enter in-store giveaways, such as six months of free dog or cat food. Winners will be announced through Feeders Supply’s Facebook page.

Feeders Supply is dedicated to carrying a great selection of pet food with advances in nutrition and an expanded collection of supplies for pets. Each Feeders Supply associate goes through extensive training to help pet lovers identify the right products for their pets.

Feeders Supply has 24 locations across Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

feederssupply.com

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VA and Pet Partners Combine Efforts to Bring Therapy Animal Services to More Veterans

The partnership will provide veteran communities with volunteer opportunities.

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(PRESS RELEASE) The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced it is partnering with the nonprofit organization Pet Partners to help improve quality of life, social engagement and health of veterans through increased access of animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy services throughout the VA health care system.

Pet Partners and the VA will train therapy animal teams and encourage VA medical facilities to establish and expand trained therapy animal visitation and AAA and AAT programs to give patients the sense of connection, comfort and joy that comes from spending time with animals.

“This partnership will add to the health care services and programs VA offers to veterans, as emerging research recognizes the positive effects interactions with animals can have on patients,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA’s work with Pet Partners will help veterans support well-being through animal-assisted activities and therapy, which research shows can be very beneficial.”

The partnership will also provide veteran communities with volunteer opportunities and integrate veterans and their families into Pet Partners activities and events.

According to a wide range of research and studies, the human-animal bond can lead to lower blood pressure, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and lessened anxiety, pain, and loneliness. Time with therapy animals not only promotes physical and mental health but also supports wellness across variables such as social interaction, rate of recovery and personal motivation.

va.gov/healthpartnerships, petpartners.org

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