Section on Human Animal Interaction: Research & Practice – December 2016

Members of the Human Animal Interaction Section spent 2016 sharing ideas, knowledge, and experience. With a new board of directors in place, Lori Kogan took the helm as Section Chair and pledged to increase membership and expand the section by reaching out to professionals who are interested in human animal interactions. Other plans for 2017 include a bi-annual newsletter co-edited by members-at-large Chris Blazina and Amy Johnson as well as an emphasis on expanding our social media presence overseen by member-at-large Lauren Varner.

We are excited to introduce our new board members including our Members at Large: Chris Blazina, Amy Johnson, Lynn Piper, Tricia Steeves, and Lauren Varner; our Secretary, Stephanie Langston; Research Advisor, Karen Schaefer; Membership Manager, Lisa Lunghofer; and Historical Advisor, Maya Gupta. We were fortunate to be able to retain Camille DeBell as Treasurer and Phyllis Erdman and an active Past Chair.

Our section members have had a productive year. For example, several HAI members presented at the Society of Animal Welfare Association (SAWA) research symposium in November 2016. Maya Gupta talked about human violence and developing community initiatives to help both animals and humans. Lisa Lunghofer presented her findings from evaluations of two different types of programs that pair veterans and shelter dogs: Soldier’s Best Friend (SBF) and VALOR. Lastly, Lori Kogan, along with colleague Cheryl Kolus, presented research related to clicker training shelter cats.

Chris Blazina and Lori Kogan’s edited text “Men and Their Dogs: A New Understanding of Man’s Best Friend” was published earlier this year by Springer Publishing. It is the first academic book to examine the bond between males and their canine companions. The editors and three chapter authors presented their chapters at the 2016 American Psychological Association’s conference in Denver. Additionally, Chris Blazina published “When Man Meets Dog” a book that was awarded the 2016 National Indie Excellence Award for Men’s Health.

There are also numerous examples of our section members’ clinical work, including great work done by Lynn Piper, who incorporates her dogs into her therapeutic work. The accompanying picture exemplifies her work with children on impulse control issues. “I use a trick with Loki in which he is required to balance a treat on his nose or head, wait until he hears the command to have the treat, and then try to catch the treat in his mouth. The child is aware of Loki’s love for treats, so the child can understand how difficult it is for Loki to manage his impulse to not take the treat before the release word was given.  This behavior can help children see a successful example of impulse control and lead to a discussion on how to control impulses.”

Amy Johnson, as the Director and Founder of Teacher’s Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together provides another great example. This program pairs at-risk youth with hard-to adopt shelter dogs for a 10-week workshop in canine communication, care and compassion and has helped over 2000 children since its inception in 2005.

The HAI section welcomes new members and encourages anyone interested to check out our website ( or FB page ( or contact the Chair, Lori Kogan at

Written by Lori Kogan


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