Professor to speak at Purdue about human-animal interaction

September 1, 2015  

Maggie O'Haire

Maggie O'Haire 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — An assistant professor of human-animal interaction, who studies the effects of the human-animal bond, will give a public talk on Sept. 8 in conjunction with a veterinary conference at Purdue University.

Maggie O'Haire, assistant professor of human-animal interaction in the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Comparative Pathobiology, will talk on "The Science Behind the Human-Animal Bond" at 7 p.m. in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The event, which is free, is part of the 2015 Elanco Lectureship and will kick off the Purdue Veterinary Conference.

The session will begin with an introduction by Alan Beck, the Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology and director of the Purdue Veterinary Medicine Center for the Human-Animal Bond.

O'Haire recently received a grant from the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation to lead a study to measure the effects of service dogs on post 9-11 war veterans with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury.

To date, only anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that veterans who have service dogs may demonstrate better health and wellness compared with those receiving other treatment services while on the waitlist for a service dog. O'Haire's latest study will evaluate these claims.

O'Haire received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Vassar College in New York and her doctorate in psychology as a Fulbright Scholar at The University of Queensland in Australia. She currently leads a program of research within the Center for the Human Animal Bond and the Center for Animal Welfare Science. Her research team focuses on studying the unique and pervasive effects of interactions with animals. In addition to working with service dogs for veterans with PSTD and TBI, projects include classroom-based, animal-assisted intervention for children with autism and their peers.

The lecture is an annual event that has alternated between the NAVC Conference, the Western Veterinary Conference and the Purdue Veterinary Conference. A light reception will follow the lecture. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, 

Source: Kevin Doerr, director of alumni relations and public affairs for College of Veterinary Medicine, 765-494-8216, 

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