Education & Research Programs
The center promotes education of veterinary and human health care professionals and the general public on the
importance of human-animal relationships and conducts partnered, scholarly research in the field of Human Companion
Animal Interaction, leading to publications, conferences and public presentations.
MS Program in Human-Companion Animal Interaction
The Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences offers a combined
ABVP residency in Canine/Feline Clinical
Practice and MS degree with focus in human-animal bond studies for qualifying veterinarians. The program:
- Offers an interdisciplinary degree encompassing a wide variety of topics, and includes classes from Virginia Tech's Department
of Sociology and the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.
- Prepares the resident for specialty certification in clinical small animal practice and to strengthen the health and welfare of
human-animal interactions at national and potentially international levels.
- The effect of the therapeutic session on salivary cortisol levels and stress related behavior in animal-assisted activity dogs.
Funding agency: Made possible by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company, R&D Research Grants.
PI: Dr. Bess Pierce
Co-PI: Dr. Zenny Ng
- Creating 3D Visualization Tools to Study Canine Puppy Socialization Behaviors
Sponsorship agency: Institute for Creativity, Art and Technology (ICAT), Virginia Tech
PIs: Dr. Bess Pierce and Thomas Tucker