The prevalence of animals in people's lives is ever growing. Many pet owners see their pets as members of their family. Animals can improve one's well being both physically and mentally. They have been used in therapeutic practices, both in one-on-one sessions and group settings. While there are several benefits to owning a pet, they can cause barriers to accessing healthcare and housing, and can be a deterrent to leaving abusive situations. The two roles pets play in people's lives creates a dynamic that is prevalent to several professional fields including social work. Social workers have already begun to acknowledge the prevalence of animals in people's lives with the creation of Veterinary Social Work and including pets as part of one's family/environment. This includes asking pet related questions during in-take assessments. Acknowledging the beneficial elements and barriers of owning a pet can open doors to addressing the problems pet owners face. A survey of a class of social work students at BGSU revealed interest in BGSU offering course options related to the topic of animal therapy. More research is needed on the topic of animals and humans to increase validity of existing data and to explore un-investigated questions.
Dr. Peggy Adams
First Advisor Department
Dr. Cynthia Spitler
Second Advisor Department
Lytle, Ashley, "The Therapeutic and Psychosocial Effects of Pets on Individuals in the USA" (2021). Honors Projects. 661.