University Of MissouriAn apple a day keeps a doctor away. Similar to that saying, another saying may soon be developed i.e. a pet in your life may keep the doctor away. Well this is because this fall, the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) may explore several ways in which animals may profit people of all ages.

It is claimed that owning a pet apparently lowers blood pressure, promotes exercise, and enhances psychological health.

Rebecca Johnson, associate professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, the College of Veterinary Medicine and director of ReCHAI, commented, “Research in this field is providing new evidence on the positive impact pets have in our lives. This conference will provide a unique opportunity to connect international experts working in human-animal interaction research with those already working in the health and veterinary medicine fields. A wonderful array of presentations will show how beneficial animals can be in the lives of children, families and older adults.”

Marty Becker, a veterinary contributor to ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ may apparently give a special presentation at the conference known as the ‘The Power of Love: The science and the soul behind that affection-connection we call The Bond.’

Other conference discussions may include different ways in which human-animal interaction may be of advantage to humans and animals, new features of human-animal relations, and ways to use new human-animal interaction knowledge to their fields. Some of the presentations may underline the particular function of companion animals in apparently aiding reading and physical activity in children and adults.

Johnson explained, “Pets are of great importance to people, especially during hard economic times. Pets provide unconditional love and acceptance and may be part of answers to societal problems, such as inactivity and obesity.”

ReCHAI apparently backs various projects that try to increase the understanding and worth of the relationship between humans and animals. In the initial program, a group of older adults were supposedly coordinated with shelter dogs, while another group of older adults apparently had a human walk buddy. For about 12 weeks, the subjects were asked to walk on an outdoor trail for around one hour, five times a week. At the end of the program, the activity levels of the older adults were measured.

Johnson mentioned, “The older people who walked their dogs improved their walking capabilities by 28 percent. They had more confidence walking on the trail, and they increased their speed. The older people who walked with humans only had a 4 percent increase in their walking capabilities. The human walking buddies tended to discourage each other and used excuses such as the weather being too hot.”

James Griffin, a scientist at NICHD, remarked, “The few studies that have been conducted suggest that pet ownership may have multiple health and emotional benefits for both children and adults. But there has been relatively little rigorous research documenting these benefits and examining how and why they occur. By providing support for this conference and additional research studies, we hope to generate some answers.”

Charlotte McKenney, assistant director of ReCHAI, added, “Today, pets are in more than 60 percent of American homes. Research involving human-animal interaction can be extremely beneficial. More people are incorporating pets into their leisure time, such as making them part of their exercise routines, taking them to dog parks and bringing them to family events.”

Johnson is of the opinion that a lot of people working on similar projects may be brought together by the Human-Animal Interaction Conference. Nurses, physicians, veterinarians, social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and activity directors are part of the many people who may attend the conference.

A conference will be conducted in the International Society for Anthrozoology and Human-Animal Interaction in Kansas City, Mo., on October 20-25.