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Pets, People and Health Promotion

31 Aug 2021, 7:00pm-8:00pm


Pets are the animals we live with in our everyday lives. Pets are a global and historical phenomenon; archaeological evidence continues to reveal that humans have chosen to live with other species for millennia. Today, most cultures live with what we in Australia would recognise as pets, and almost 65% of Australian households have at least one pet. Human-animal relationships have started to attract more attention on the basis of their powerful health-creating and health promoting impacts in human lives. Mounting evidence indicates that while pets may have a healthful impact in most pet owners’ lives, the benefits of cross-species relationships is magnified in vulnerable groups such as those experiencing chronic illnesses, homelessness, loneliness, social isolation, or social exclusion.

Dr Em Bould

Em is a senior post-doctoral research fellow in the School of Primary and Allied Healthcare at Monash University. She has a strong track record of research generating evidence to guide development of practices, programs and policies enabling participation by people with cognitive disability and promote their social inclusion, to bring about positive change for people living with disability. Most recently this has focused on human and animal supports, and she has developed a program of research to build the evidence base regarding the impact of animal supports used in community living.

Dr Janette Young

Janette is a researcher at the University of South Australia. Her key research area is pets and people. Janette lectures in health promotion but she has had a varied career, starting out as a social worker in community aged care, then morphing into policy and planning work and then on into academia. People and pets has been a theme across her own life and in her work since her first student placement where she learnt that sometimes the best you can do to support people is look after the animals that they care about. Janette's academic focus on the human-animal intersection has mushroomed over the past decade with a focus on the intersection and balancing of both human and animal needs, experiences and rights and the relationships of people over 60 with their pets. She has 2 books, numerous chapters, journal articles, conference presentations and is author or informant for a range of popular media articles. She is regularly invited to speak publicly in relation to human relationships with pets and is co-chair of Animal Therapies Ltd (SA). She lives with two dogs, one husband and numerous foster cats, kittens and bunnies.