Description

Objective: To explore the dimensions of the human animal bond and provide a community needs assessment to inform the community stake holders such as the Arizona Humane Society and Nina

Objective: To explore the dimensions of the human animal bond and provide a community needs assessment to inform the community stake holders such as the Arizona Humane Society and Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust Foundation how many animals are in need of veterinary services within the homeless population of Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to this, pets of the homeless individuals will be able to gain access to veterinary services for eight consecutive weeks. Background: Pets have an important impact on human mental, physical, social, and emotional health. It has been reported that about one third of the homeless population in Arizona has pets that are not able to gain access to veterinary care (Wang, 2015). Most homeless shelters will not allow people to access services with pets. As a consequence people will sleep out in the streets. Animals as Lifechangers and Lifesavers: Pets in the Redemption Narratives of Homeless People (Irvine, 2013) contains interviews of homeless people based on their life stories. A common theme among interviewees was that they felt they had a responsibility to their pets that served as a motivating purpose for giving up horrible personal habits because they had a sense of responsibility. Methods/Materials: Wandering Paws was launched in February 2015, but did not officially start as an eight-week study until March 2016. This pilot program serves the homeless populations' dogs and cats with veterinary care. The Arizona Humane Society was approached to acquire their services for this project including a veterinarian, a technician, and usage of their seventy-one foot mobile unit. Homeless individuals who wanted veterinary services were recruited and asked to fill out a twenty-three-question survey. Secondary data was procured from the Arizona Humane Society about the animal and services rendered for that pet. Results: Over the course of the first four weeks 22 surveys have been completed. 86% of the surveys completed indicate a strong bond between the owner and animal. The remaining 14% of the surveys completed indicate a weaker bond between the animal and owner. Conclusion/Implications: The research indicates a strong connection between most people and their animals. The veterinary services provided for the homeless population should be continued on a monthly basis as a wellness clinic in the future, as these services are in great demand.

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