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Veterinary Science and Infectious Plagues: A Q&A with Norman F. Cheville

Veterinary Science and Infectious Plagues: A Q&A with Norman F. Cheville

February 19th, 2021

We talked to Norman F. Cheville, the author of Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health.

Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues covers a century of progress fighting infectious diseases and plagues, illuminating the important role of veterinary research and science.

Q: What was your impetus for writing this book and studying this subject?

Norman F. Cheville: A mystery existed about why America trailed Europe by a full century—from the 1760s to the 1860s—in building science-based veterinary colleges to educate for animal health care. Why? No historian had ever explained that. Turns out, veterinary colleges in Europe has been stimulated by rampant infectious disease, many of them zoonoses—diseases transmissible from animals to humans. Yet in North America, there was a century-long delay. Did it arise from public ignorance of microbes, from national energies miss-directed to war, or from the fraudulent veterinarians working in rural frontiers? There had to be a story there.

Then a celebratory editorial in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association had things backwards; an employee of the National Library of Medicine had written that medicine in North America had been the model for veterinary education. The writer had ignored not only the rich practical science culture but also the difficult but creative contributions to veterinary science in rural America and Canada. In seeking the historical facts, it appeared that much of the history of veterinary medicine has been ignored. In the beginning, I wanted to correct that and to include the important seminal contributions of pioneering scientists who I believed had been left out in the story, e.g., Heinrich Janssen Detmers and Rush Shippen Huidekoper. In progressing, a remarkable historical tableau emerged that drove the remainder of the book on how microbes, war, and public health had changed animal health care in North America.


Q: When you started writing this project you may not have expected it to be as topical as it now is. What are some of the most striking parallels between the plagues you talk about in the book and the pandemic we’re facing today?

Cheville: From the start, it was clear that the great plagues occurred in cycles that were driven by national economies, idiosyncrasies of political cultures, and wars. It was also soon clear that in responding to pandemics, the answers provided by science had to be translated into action – a translation that required journalists, informed politicians, and responsible pharmaceutical business; it has been the task of these groups to lead the public into acceptance of social behavior change including use of drugs and vaccines. Early successful scientists had been connected to some form of public information where the press, politicians, and heads of state drove effective actions. At the beginning of the era, the political talents of Jenner (smallpox), Pasteur (fowl cholera, anthrax, and rabies), Koch (tuberculosis), and Virchow (trichinosis) convinced the public and had been the key to their successes. In each succeeding plague cycle, some scientist or science group appeared to fulfill that mission. Virchow solved the problem of trichinosis in pigs in Germany by providing the science behind trichinosis in pork and the on-farm methods to prevent it; he had connections with the Reichstag to implement regulations and laws to mandate action. In America, unlike our early response to the COVID-19 disaster, some plagues led to effective responses. In the first decade of the 20th century food safety for humans appeared because of a scientist, a journalist, and a Congress who understood their responsibility to establish the Food and Drug Administration. For animals of that decade, scientists provided the vaccination method for the disastrous pandemic of hog cholera, the federal government, the research impetus, and the state legislatures (most of them at least) provided the funds and production facilities to stop the disease. Succeeding pandemics of influenza, poliomyelitis, and the prion diseases followed the same pattern. The importance of all this is that when journalists, legislators, or heads of state fail in this scheme, disaster ensues.

What emerged in writing this book was that distortion of veterinary science and education was occurring from two idiosyncrasies of culture – disbelief in science and distrust of government. Spreading misinformation and downright lies, people in these misinformation cults spawned scientology, creationism, anti-vaccination movements, astrology, and other anti-science scams. All of these scalawags were having destructive impacts on science in general and on veterinary medicine in particular. There were other bogeymen – fraudulent veterinarians, scientists that published fake data, dishonest entrepreneurs, and other latter-day snake oil salesmen. The anti-science stance of a disturbing percentage of the public arises from avoiding logic and rational analysis in solving what is basically a science problem. Underlying much of this mischief are the prejudices of the more misinformed segments of human cults of various kinds.

All of this is part of a scary anti-science and anti-government philosophy that has been growing since the 1960s and has been severely exacerbated by the internet and its lack of control.  Failure of the federal government to take command of this issue has allowed COVID-19 to spread throughout the nation before serious efforts of mitigation were finally begun. This is in striking contrast to the outbreak of smallpox in New York City at the end of World War II; then the nation was educated by the presidents, governors, mayors and public health departments; the public was responsive to the needed behaviors, and together acted immediately to prevent spread, vaccinate the population, and track spreaders. Because of our anti-science and anti-authoritarian beliefs (that are now being disguised at some loopy faux patriotism), we have become victims of pandemic viruses. It will get worse unless we correct this nonsense.

Q: As you put it, disbelief in science and distrust in government may be the two largest impediments to the advancements you outline in the book. From the 1860s to now, what do you think makes these so pervasive?

Cheville: There are several factors, the most important of which seems to be the tone set by those in charge. Presidents, state governors, and local leaders must take the steps and walk the walk of responsibility to keep the public informed and educated about the steps that must be taken: surveillance of global infections, monitoring for spread, social behavioral changes that prevent spread, and scientific research that expands production of vaccines and drugs. This often involved subtle communications and seeing that the public is informed correctly. A lethal move is the political re-direction or re-interpretation of science data. In recent times there is the need to regulate the internet, making it conform to public standards of truth – just as newspapers were forced to do in the early 20th century. Today, this is the major route for misinformation and anti-science cults to spread fake news. There is a persistent phony mentality that drives many of these cults, most based upon ignorance and expediencies of money, land, and material things that override the needs for the public good. These scams can only persist when there are deficits in public education. Any lack of a rigorous and demanding educational curriculum for teaching civics, government, science, and propaganda analysis in our primary and secondary schools provides fertile soil for cults.


Q: You write at the start of the preface of the book, “Animal health care in North America evolved from farriers and itinerant cow leeches to science-based veterinary medicine in one century, from 1860 to 1960.” When doing your research, what struck you most about the advancement of this era?

Cheville: It was a time when social responsibility moved to regulate the expanding economy. Reforms of the early 20th century regulated dangerous business habits that had spread not only plagues of infectious diseases but episodes of food adulteration and uncontrolled toxic disposals. These reforms gave us the safe nation in which we now live. The demands of regulated capitalism was co-incident with societal reform that promoted education and science. It was a time of public acceptance of science. There was less opportunity for those struggling with personality disorders/mental illness to seriously harm society.


Q: You end the book with an epilogue and changes since 1960 with emphasis on a growth in public distrust; how about the future?

Cheville: Things may seem dark at the moment, but there is hope. It takes time, but we will correct our mistakes through education and correction of misinformation, and by regulating the unrestricted falsification of public information. As to Veterinary Medicine and animal health care, these changes have been maintained. The book documents a striking and direct impact of change: the complete reversal in the acceptance of women as veterinary scientists. Not permitted to study for the profession in early times, women veterinary graduates exploded after World War II from near 0 in 1960 to nearly 90% in 2000. This remarkable change doubled the intellectual power of the profession. The change was coincident with an emerging spiritual aura of empathy and responsibility – an understanding of how animal behavior and human-animal connections change when biology goes awry. For the veterinarian, professional responsibilities expanded. One of the remarkable books of the period was James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small. It represented the era; scratch away the beautiful Yorkshire dales, the funny humanistic stories, and the cleverness of the writing, the reader is still left with a continuing theme of empathy of the human-animal bond – dealing with animal cruelty in a global production system, with the ecologic health of free-ranging terrestrial mammals in the wild, with dolphins and fish that must be saved from toxic tides in oceanic environments, and of protecting wild birds from suffering infections, starvation and lead poisoning along their intercontinental flyways. Knowledge and skill dedicated to healing animals of many species in a variety of environmental settings provided an unspoken but protective spiritual bond that leads to public trust.

Thank you to Norman! If you would like to know more about this book you can order your own copy or request it from your local library.

You can get 30% off this title and any other order by entering the code PURDUE30 when ordering from our website.

The History of Infectious Plagues and Veterinary Science

February 10th, 2021

In one century, animal health care in North America evolved from farriers and itinerant cow leeches to science-based veterinary medicine. Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health by Norman F. Cheville covers this century of progress fighting infectious diseases and plagues, illuminating the important role of veterinary research and science.

The narrative of Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues is driven by astonishing events that centered on animal disease: the influenza pandemic of 1872, discovery of the causes of anthrax and tuberculosis in 1880s, conquest of Texas cattle fever and then yellow fever, the German anthrax attacks on the U. S. during World War I, the tuberculin war of 1931, Japanese biological warfare in the 1940s, and todays bioterror dangers.

This history focuses on the scientists and institutions that pioneered veterinary education and research and made conquering these plagues possible. It memorializes events that propelled science forward and those that blocked progress. This includes the ways in which the cycles of discovery were enhanced or impeded by viability of the economy, demands of war, and idiosyncrasies of political culture. Also underlying this change were twin idiosyncrasies of culture—disbelief in science and distrust of government—that spawned scientology, creationism, ‘no vaccination’ movements, and other anti-science scams.

This phenomenon is now all too familiar, our world now reckoning with disbelief in science and cultural stasis that threatens progress. As new infectious plagues continue to arise, Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues details the strategies we learned defeating plagues from 1860 to 1960, and the essential role veterinary science played.


“Dr. Norman Cheville draws on over sixty years of experience as a prominent veterinary researcher, educator, and administrator, and he makes use of his acute observational and analytical abilities to provide his perspective on the early and continuing evolution of veterinary medicine. The result is a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of veterinary medical history, with insights to help shape the future of a profession that plays a central role in addressing critical challenges facing the modern world such as infectious diseases, food security and safety, public health, climate change, sustaining wildlife, and the human-animal bond.”

—James Roth, Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine


PIONEER SCIENCE AND THE GREAT PLAGUES by Norman F. Cheville is out March 15, 2021.

Receive 30% off Pioneer Science and the Great Plagues: How Microbes, War, and Public Health Shaped Animal Health and any other Purdue University Press book by ordering directly from our website and entering the code PURDUE30 at checkout.

Raising Up the Science Behind the Human-Animal Bond

November 12th, 2020

This post is part of the blog tour hosted by the Association of University Presses in celebration of University Press week. To see the rest of the posts in the tour, click here.

The theme of University Press Week this year is Raise UP, this theme highlights the role that the university press community plays in elevating authors, subjects, and whole disciplines that bring new perspectives, ideas, and voices to readers around the globe. The theme for today’s blog tour is “scientific voices”, and we’re highlighting our book series New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond.

The idea that animals can have a positive impact on humans is not a new one. Pets are an accepted part of life and at places like college campuses you’ll often see events held with puppies, kittens, and other adorable animals intended to boost morale during especially stressful times. Unfortunately, many still balk when they hear terms like “emotional support animal”, when reactions can range from citing a “lack of scientific evidence” to accusing owners of using the term to get a “normal pet” into places they would otherwise not be allowed.

Fortunately, research continues to be done that can provide powerful testimonial to the relationship between humans and animals. Our book series New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond provides an outlet to this research, and sheds light on the many benefits that it can offer.

“There are many important things that have emerged from recent human-animal interaction research.” said Maggie E. O’Haire, Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction at Purdue University and one of the series editors of the series. “For me, I am always excited to see quantifiable metrics for behavior and physiology that are impacted by interactions with animals. For example, our recent work identified that veterans with service dogs show a different pattern in their stress response hormone cortisol.”

O’Haire contributed a chapter to last year’s book Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing Through Our Connections With Animals edited by Philip Tedeschi and Molly Anne Jenkins. A perfect example of the positive impact the series makes, the authors examine research developments, models, and practical applications of human-animal connection and animal-assisted intervention for diverse populations who have experienced trauma.

“In a field that has historically been characterized by a reliance on emotional intuition, our goal is to bring strong science to understanding how, why, and when the human-animal bond can influence human mental health and wellness. The Purdue University Press series on New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond offers exciting and engaging scholarly resources to address the latest topics in the field.” said O’Haire. “I am also constantly inspired by the pioneering work of our Center Director, Dr. Alan Beck, who has paved the way to answer many of the questions current scholars pose.”

Beck, the director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, is a longtime expert on the dynamic relationship between people and animals and how each influences the psychological and physiological state of the other. He’s also the other series editor for New Directions in the Human Animal Bond and has even contributed a few books himself.

“All indications are that companion animals play the role of a family member, often, a member with the most desired attributes. Ordinary interactions with animals can reduce blood pressure and improve survival after a heart attack. Animal contact can improve mood, encourage exercise, and help people better deal with stress. Pets, for some, afford increased opportunities to meet people, while for others; pets permit people to be alone without being lonely.” said Beck. “When done correctly, the interaction benefits both people and the animals—a bond that is significant and mutual.”

Clearly there is no shortage of interaction between humans and animals, and our series seeks to represent the breadth of research being done. Some recent books include:

The impact of this research is clear, and Purdue University Press hopes our role in lifting up the voices of these researchers and authors will help many reap the benefits. Alan Beck may put it best.

“People benefit from their relationship with nature and the living world, and for many it is their relationship with tame and domesticated animals. Every culture has some version of the relationship. Our companion animals permit people to continue to enjoy their inborn desires to nurture throughout their life.”

You can read more about the series and find out more about the process for submissions on our website.

You can learn more about Maggie O’Haire’s research with veterans and service dogs here.

You can get 30% off human-animal bond books, and all other Purdue University Press titles by entering the code PURDUE30 at checkout on our website.

Other #UPWeek blog posts:

University of Alabama Press
#RaisingUP Scientific Voices with NEXUS Series
A conversation with series editors Alan Marcus, Alexandra Hui, and Mark Hersey

Purdue University Press
Raising Up the Science behind the Human-Animal Bond

Princeton University Press
Six Impossible Things
Ingrid Gnerlich

Bristol University Press
The Relevance of Science Communication in the Era of COVID
Claire Wilkinson

Indiana University Press
Science and Critical Thinking
Donald R. Prothero

University of Toronto Press
Science Writing in a Time of Crisis
Mireille F. Ghoussoub
Scientific Trust in the Era of COVID-19
Lacey Cranston

Vanderbilt University Press
Stories from the Natural World
A book trailer for Between the Rocks and the Stars

Columbia University Press
6 Things to Consider before Applying to PhD Programs
Ashley Juavinett

Oregon State University Press
Rebuilding Ecological Resilience
Bruce A. Byers

Conservationists and Cat Lovers: Q&A with Dara M. Wald and Anna L. Peterson

February 24th, 2020

We talked to Dara Wald and Anna Peterson, authors of Cats and Conservationists: The Debate Over Who Owns the Outdoors about feral cats and the conversation surrounding them.

Cats and Conservationists is the first multidisciplinary analysis of the heated debate about free-roaming cats. The debate pits conservationists against cat lovers, who disagree both on the ecological damage caused by the cats and the best way to manage them. The book aims to see through the smoke of the debate, and facilitate collaboration in order to manage outdoor cats and minimize the damage they cause.


Q: Could you briefly explain the debate surrounding feral cats, and what the two sides in the argument are purported to be?

Anna Peterson: The two sides are sometimes framed as “bird people” and “cat people,” who are supposedly at odds with each other in every possible way. “Bird people” think outdoor cats kill huge numbers of wild animals, including song birds and endangered species, and want to eliminate outdoor cats in order to protect wildlife and ecosystems. They often think that trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs are ineffective ways to reduce the cat population and that stricter measures, including lethal ones, are required. “Cat people,” on the other hand, think that outdoor cats do not contribute to minimal ecological damage, that TNR programs usually work well to reduce or stabilize cat populations, and that outdoor cats have as much “right” to exist as other animals. This is very simplified, but it’s a common way that the debate is framed.

Dara Wald: The problem with simplified framing is that it often dismisses or ignores value-based differences driving public debate over outdoor cats. The folks involved in this debate have strongly held beliefs about the world, about science, and about animals. These beliefs are associated with specific worldviews or orientations (e.g., conservationist vs. animal welfare) that influence how individuals’ select and interpret information. Thus, conservationists are more likely to pay attention to and accept widespread scientific consensus that cats kill birds. While TNR supporters are significantly less likely to be exposed to this message, and when confronted with it, they are less likely to agree that cat predation poses a risk to wildlife or environmental health. So, this simplified framing could actually be reinforcing the differences between these groups and contributing to greater polarization between interested parties. That’s why it’s important to identify alternative voices and pathways to promote constructive conversations.


Q: It seems that many intend to frame the two sides of this conflict as being uncompromising and combative, your book talks about that framing, could you explain?

Peterson: The simplistic bird people vs. cat people frame does portray the two sides as rigid and mutually exclusive, as though there are no common values or interests. Our research finds that while the conflicts are real, there are many shared values. While some people may be uncompromising, many other people who care about this debate are open to conversation and compromise. We think that constructive conversations among different stake holders – conservationists, cat advocates, local residents – can help reveal common interests and goals and provide people with the information they need to make better policy decisions. For example, it’s important to know what ecological damage cats might be doing in a given area, because their impact is really different in a disturbed urban or suburban area than it is in an ecologically fragile place like a coastal or island environment. Good information about issues like that can help people have better conversations and reach constructive policy solutions.

Wald: The language and frames we use to describe an animal or a topic can send a signal about how much we value a species, which identity group we belong, and whose science we accept. Think about the difference between the terms “evolution” and “creation” or “global warming” or “climate change.” Using a specific frame or term can unintentionally send a signal to your audience about your position. This positionality can make it hard to start a constructive conversation. The goal of this book is to encourage constructive conversations among all the communities interested in this debate. To do this, we looked at the common frames employed by prominent voices and groups. You’ll also notice that we use the term “outdoor” cats instead of “feral” cats throughout. We chose the more neutral term because we want this book to be accessible to all the groups involved in this debate.


Q: What do you feel are some of the other major misconceptions the general public may have about this debate?

Peterson: I think one misconception might be about how important this issue is to many conservationists. While many people in the “general public” aren’t aware that there is a conflict, and maybe not even that there are lots of outdoor cats running around, the people who are aware of the issue often feel very strongly. The first time this issue came up in a classroom for me, it was with a bunch of environmental science grad students, and I was surprised at how passionate they were about this issue and how heated the discussion became.

Wald: Agreed. I was also surprised once I started studying this issue that it has really important implications beyond cats. The debate over outdoor cats is an example of what happens when strongly held beliefs and values drive conflict over environmental issues. There are important parallels between this issue and public debate over the safety of GM foods, the benefits of wind energy, and the risks associated with climate change. Unlike these national/international issues, decisions about how to manage outdoor cats can be addressed at the local level. There are groups already involved and committed to developing solutions that save the lives of birds and cats and yet they are often dismissed, ignored, or belittled by the media and the environmental community. This is a pattern that can create resentment, distrust, and a sense that environmentalists, and other expert groups are not acting in the public’s best interest. My goal is to encourage constructive discussions and community-led solutions that are inclusive, supportive, and sustainable – whether the topic is cats or other complex, contested environmental issues.


Q: Many are relatively comfortable considering certain animals (moles, snakes, raccoons, opossums, etc.) as pests to be exterminated/captured. How do you feel this does/should affect the debate around feral cats?

Peterson: Most people, at least in the US, put cats in a very different category than “vermin” – they see cats as pets, even if they are unowned, and not pests. Our research and other studies show that even “bird advocates” often have pet cats of their own, whom they love. That’s why there is a debate about what to do about outdoor cats, when there is not nearly the same level of conflict about other invasive predators. In some ways, as certain conservationists will argue, this distinction is not well-grounded: if we focus on cats’ intrinsic qualities or on their ecological role, they are not all that different from many other species. What makes them different is their relationships with us. Humans have a historical relationship with cats, as our two species have interacted for thousands of years, in addition to the personal relationships that many people have with cats today. For better or worse, these relationships profoundly shape how people feel about the “feral cat problem,” and we cannot ignore them, if we want constructive solutions.

Wald: I agree. One major difference is the human connection. In addition, people are generally attracted to and interested in charismatic mammals. As much as I love snakes, birds, and raccoons, I understand why the World Wildlife Fund has a panda on its logo.


Thank you so much to Dara and Anna for their time! You can read more about outdoor cats and the debate surrounding them by getting your own copy of Cats and Conservationists or picking it up from your local library!

You can get 30% off Cats and Conservationists and any other Purdue University Press books by ordering from our website and using the discount code PURDUE30.

The Impact of a Monograph: The Origin of the Expression the “Human-Animal Bond” and the Importance of Compassion

February 11th, 2020

Scholarly books have long been the backbone of academia, but too often these books do not get the attention they deserve. In this series, we ask our authors which academic works have had a lasting influence on them. Follow this link to see the rest of the series.

This post is written by Alan M. Beck, a series editor for our New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series.


I first met Leo Bustad around 1978, when he was the dean of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served from 1973–1983. His varied experiences as an accomplished scientist and educator, fifteen months in a German prison camp, and his long-lasting marriage gave him a wonderful perspective on life. He passed away in 1998 at age 78.

As an academic leader with a wonderful sense of humor, he was a sought after event speaker. His speeches were not just appropriate little talks, but thoughtful, well-referenced essays exploring major issues worthy of discussion and further contemplation. There were many reasons that they should be available for further reading and so were compiled in books, the last of which was published in 1996, Compassion: Our Last Great Hope.

The speeches in Bustad’s Compassion address such issues as the college curriculum (compared to the saber-toothed tiger for its unchanging character), nurturing children, the Holocaust, the art of listening, freedom and responsibility, grief, writing your own eulogy, and the importance of animals to the well-being of people. Humans’ relationship with animals was a major part of his life, and his writings triggered a movement in both veterinary and human medicine.

Together with psychiatrist Michael McCulloch, they developed the Delta Society, which is now Pet Partners, to foster research on the value of our relationship with animals; indeed, Bustad coined the expression the human-animal bond. He shamelessly borrowed the wording from the often-discussed mother-infant bond. Both bonds indicated a relationship that is essential and mutual. It took a strong collaboration of a leading veterinarian and a respected physician for society to look past the biases in both fields. This was long before the present concept of One Health. The chapter on animals in Bustad’s Compassion ends with a quote from McCulloch: “If pet therapy offers hope for relief of human suffering, it is our professional obligation to explore every available arena for its use.”

In the last chapter Bustad discusses the scholars who believe the world’s greatest resource is compassion. As he notes, “Compassion is not merely feeling or sentiment, but actively helping to relieve pain and suffering in others.” He shares his sadness that this great source of energy remains relatively unused, unexplored, and unwanted. He argues that we should make compassion not a religion, but a way of life. We are reminded that Hebrew Scriptures note that God chose Moses to lead his people only when he observed how much compassion Moses had for his animals.

Bustad’s writings are well worth the read and the fresh considerations the text will promote. The life’s work of the author illustrates the importance of humans and animals to one another, as does this book—the indelible bond we share, the opportunities presented by these connections, and the empathy that unites all creatures. Bustad ends the chapter with “Everyone who is in need of help is my brother and my sister. That’s compassion.”


Books on the Human-Animal Bond

August 9th, 2019

Purdue University Press is proud to publish books that highlight the numerous important relationships between humans and animals.

Published in collaboration with Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and series editors Alan Beck and Maggie O’Haire, our New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series, seeks to expand our knowledge of the human-animal bond. The series welcomes submissions covering all aspects of human-animal interaction and welfare, including therapy applications, public policy, and the application of humane ethics in managing our living resources.

You can access the series in its entirety on our website. Below is a selection of some of our recent titles.

Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing Through Our Connections with Animals

Edited by Philip Tedeschi and Molly Anne Jenkins


International experts in the fields of trauma and human-animal connection examine how our relationships with animals can help build resiliency and foster healing to transform trauma. A myriad of animal species and roles, including companion, therapy, and service animals are discussed.

“Tedeschi and Jenkins have produced the go-to sourcebook on the role of animal-assisted interventions for children and adults coping with the debilitating effects of psychological trauma. With diverse and engaging contributions from international experts in the field, Transforming Trauma fills an important gap in the AAI/anthrozoology literature, and it does so with considerable insight and compassion, not only for the human victims of trauma, but also for the animals who help them on the road to recovery.”

— James A Serpell, Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine


Check out a free preview of the book.


A Reason to Live: HIV and Animal Companions

by Vicki Hutton


A Reason to Live explores the human-animal relationship through the narratives of eleven people living with HIV and their animal companions. The narratives, based on a series of interviews with HIV-positive individuals and their animal companions in Australia, span the entirety of the HIV epidemic, from public awareness and discrimination in the 1980s and 1990s to survival and hope in the twenty-first century.

“Vicki Hutton captures the healing power of human-animal bond through personal stories of survivors of the AIDS pandemic. During a time of stigma and self-hatred, and before effective therapies, animal companionship was the most powerful medicine available and is still effective today. Furry, feathered and scaled creatures saved many lives and brought a positive face to the pandemic. The author captures the historical threads of a darker time and brings light to the importance of animals in our lives.”

— Ken Gorczyca, DVM, Founding Veterinarian of Pets Are Wonderful Support, San Francisco


Check out a free preview of the book and an interview with the author.

That Sheep May Safely Graze: Rebuilding Animal Health Care in War-Torn Afghanistan

by David Sherman

Author David Sherman details a determined effort, in the midst of war, to bring essential veterinary services to an agrarian society that depends day in and day out on the well-being and productivity of its animals, but which, because of decades of war and the disintegration of civil society, had no reliable access to even the most basic animal health care.

“There are literally billions of animals (cows, sheep, goats, etc.) that often represent the only assets extremely poor rural families depend on for income, nutrition, status, power, fiber, fertilizer, fuel, and more. One of the major challenges facing these farmers and herders is the health of their animals. Paraveterinary (extension and clinical service) networks are often discussed but rarely well-established on any kind of sustainable and self-reliant basis. That Sheep May Safely Graze is an extraordinary story of success in building community-led, community-supported, and accountable networks of paravets who are protecting and enhancing the value of the livestock in Afghanistan. Their lessons learned are relevant to all of us engaged in livestock management, and it makes for a captivating and engrossing book on how things can get done when it matters to people.”

— Pierre Ferrari, President and Chief Executive Officer, Heifer International


Check out a free preview of the book and an interview with the author.


Animal-Assisted Interventions in Health Care Settings: A Best Practices Manual for Establishing New Programs

by Sandra B. Barker, Rebecca A. Vokes, and Randolph T. Barker


Animal-Assisted Interventions in Health Care Settings: A Best Practices Manual for Establishing New Programs succinctly outlines how best to develop, implement, run, and evaluate AAI programs. The text explores benefits from a variety of perspectives, including how AAI can improve patient experience, provide additional career development for staff, and contribute favorably to organizational culture as well as to the reputation of the facility in the surrounding community.

“Barker, Vokes, and Barker’s book is a true gem! As a leading researcher and practitioner in the field of AAI, Barker and her colleagues have assembled a book that is rich in theory and practice. The pages are filled with best practice advice from seasoned practitioners who are not only aware of how to develop reliable and safe AA interventions for patients, but also strategies to preserve animal welfare. This is a must-read book for all professionals working in health care settings!”

— Aubrey H. Fine, Professor Emeritus- California Polytechnic University, and author of Afternoons with Puppy and the Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy

Check out a free preview of the book.


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Use discount code PURDUE30 to get 30% any book in this series on our website.


A Reason to Live – Q&A with Author Vicki Hutton

June 21st, 2019

In an interview with Vicki Hutton, the author of A Reason to Live: HIV and Animal Companions, we discuss the new book and relevant subjects, including the public perception of HIV/AIDS and the universality of the human-animal bond. A Reason to Live is the newest book in the popular New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond book series, edited by Dr. Alan M. Beck and Dr. Marguerite O’Haire.


Q: Could you briefly explain your book, for those who are not familiar?

Vicki Hutton: A Reason to Live provides a testament to the power of the human-animal relationship for eleven men living with HIV in Australia. In the 1980s HIV changed the lives of thousands of people in a way that could never have been predicted. For many people living with HIV, their animal companions followed them into this new and unexpected life and by doing so, provided some semblance of normality in a world turned upside down.

A book with a Cat on the front sitting on a ledge
A Reason to Live was released by Purdue University Press June 2019

For others with HIV, their animal companions joined them further down the track, and provided the consistent and unconditional support that was not always forthcoming from other humans and the medical world. For this reason, animal companions are part of the narrative history of HIV, and part of the meaning-making around an epidemic that changed the world.

This collection of narratives spans the entirety of the HIV epidemic in Australia, from public awareness and discrimination in the 1980s and 1990s, to survival and hope in the twenty-first century. Each narrative is explored within the context of the latest human-animal research and theory in order to understand the unique bond between human and animal during an ‘epidemic of stigma’. A consistent theme is that these animals provided ‘a reason to live’: both for the long-term survivors and their past animal companions who offered unconditional love and support during this tumultuous period; and the current generation of HIV-positive narrators whose animal companions form part of the ‘wellness narrative’ of living and ageing with HIV.


Q: What compelled you to research and write about these stories?

Hutton: I could say that this was a logical outcome of my main areas of research interest: the human-animal relationship and stigmatized medical conditions, but it was far more than that. From the moment I visited a local HIV/AIDS support organization to check out the feasibility of conducting some research into stigma and the human-animal relationship, there was no going back. I was amazed by the willingness of so many people who jumped at the opportunity to describe the wonder and gratitude they felt towards their animal companions. The horrors of living with HIV, including the reactions of other humans, became almost incidental to the latest antics of their beloved animals. That first visit reshaped my research project, and I will always be grateful to the individuals who shared their time and their stories so openly and modestly. A Reason to Live is more than a cultural memory: it is a thank you to those individuals and a celebration of the human-animal relationship.


Q: What do you think are some of the most prevalent public misunderstandings surrounding HIV/AIDS?

Hutton: The first thing to remember is that there is not one HIV epidemic. It is experienced in different ways within and between countries, and according to race, gender, sexuality, age, income and decade. For example, a young woman living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa faces different challenges and public misconceptions to an older gay man living in US. Over the decades it has also attracted social meanings beyond the medical meanings, making any public misconceptions surrounding HIV and AIDS dependent on a range of factors.

With this in mind, I’ve noticed a common misconception that seems to straddle many of these groups is the tendency to assign ‘blame’ and ‘innocence’ to those with HIV. In the early years, the concept of blame and innocence saw those who contracted the virus as a result of lifestyle choices – such as unprotected sex or intravenous drug use – deemed less worthy of care and support than those who contracted it through circumstances that were perceived as out of their control – such as blood transfusions or childbirth. Fast forward several decades and blame may still emerge where a person is perceived as contracting HIV because they took avoidable lifestyle risks or failed to adequately protect themselves by adopting all the modern (medical) ways of avoiding HIV.

According to the men I spoke to, there can also be misconceptions around what it means to live and age with this stigmatized and incurable condition. They described how the medications can keep them physically healthy, but there are still challenges such as forming and maintaining relationships, and fears for the future. They described how the public perception in developed nations at least had moved towards HIV being a chronic but manageable condition – as long as a person maintains their medication regime. This perception that HIV and AIDS ares ‘over’ sometimes left them feeling ungrateful, isolated and unable to articulate the ongoing niggling anxieties that HIV can evoke (especially around ageing and cognitive decline).

And finally, I’d like to think that early public misconceptions about the ease of transmission of HIV have abated but according to some of the people I spoke to, this may not always be the case. They described how rules of physical contact were sometimes overtly or covertly reconstructed, leaving them feeling rejected and isolated. They acknowledged that negative experiences had definitely reduced over the years, but this sometimes made it all the more distressing when something unexpected happened. It seems that globally HIV still struggles to divest its misunderstood and demonized reputation.


Q: How do you feel these misunderstandings could be remedied?

Hutton: I’m not sure I’m in a position to make a meaningful response to this, given the diversity of the lived experience of HIV. I think if I make suggestions as someone who isn’t living with HIV, my response or suggestions could be perceived as trite and generic.

However, based on the stories I heard, perhaps learning from the actions of our non-judgmental animal companions could be a good starting place.


Q: Many are aware of the unconditional love that animals provide, but don’t quite grasp how much these animals can help. What are some of the most profound ways you feel these animals helped their humans or carers?

Hutton: Where do I start? These animal companions were lifelines for some of the men, providing a tangible anchor to the good parts of life that had been eroded following their diagnosis with HIV. Animals are without guile, and they can effortlessly cushion the fundamental human fears of separation and abandonment. They ask for nothing more than love and security, something all the men were delighted to give. In return, their affection remained predictable, and unaffected by their human’s circumstances or appearances.

An animal’s love can’t be faked – a tail wag, a purr, a nibble or affectionate head butt comes straight from the heart. If an animal is looking at you with love and anticipation, it’s easy to believe you are needed and still the same person you always had been. One man described being incontinent and bed-ridden, and how his animal companion lay on the bed and loved him regardless.

If an animal is expecting to be loved and fed, what better incentive to remain alive? One man acknowledged that with a non-existent social network following his diagnosis, his death by suicide would inevitably doom his young cat to starvation before anyone thought to check his apartment. The cat was his reason to live during those dark times.

And if you’re constantly having to care for, clean up after, and exercise an animal, what better way to keep fit? Many of the men described having to drag themselves out of bed in the morning to walk their dog, or feed the chickens, or just let the dog or cat outside to urinate. All acknowledged they probably would have just stayed in bed without this incentive – and felt so much worse for it.


Q: How do you feel traveling around Australia interviewing these eleven men most impacted you?

Hutton: This whole experience impacted me in a way that I had not expected. On many occasions I desperately missed the emotional support that my own animal friends would normally offer, especially after some of the more emotion-laden interviews. I longed to go home and cuddle my own animal friends, but this was impossible when thousands of miles away in a different state. I soon learned that no matter where I was, the emotion behind the stories was similar, and it was only the differences in weather and venues that differed – and the distance from my own animal support network.

But there were many fun times too. Whether I was in Sydney, Melbourne or any other state, I’d have to carry the same treats and goodies in my bag for those animal companions who came along to supervise the interviews. Many of the animals, especially the dogs, soon worked out where the treats were stored, and my travel bag became increasingly scratched and nibbled.

Some of these men are no longer alive. Where they lived interstate, sometimes I learned of their death accidentally or well after the event. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to hear their story, and it’s a timely reminder that even with twenty-first century medications, living and ageing with HIV still carries uncertainty and risk.


Q: Where there any interesting stories that came from the interviews that did not make it into the book?

Hutton: Some of the most interesting stories came out of our more informal discussions once the recording equipment was off. We shared stories of cat vomit and hairballs, anal glands and chewing habits, urination, defecation, muddy paw prints, scratched furniture and inequitable sharing of bed space – all the day-to-day minutiae that is so riveting for anyone who shares their living space with animal companions.

There were also some personal stories not related to the animal companions that were too harrowing to include in this book. Sometimes I was entrusted with information that a person had never shared before, and it would have been a violation of that trust to include these events. Each man’s story could have been a book in itself as they described their lived experience of HIV in a sometimes harsh and judgmental world. I’ve tried to do justice to those stories through the animals, while acknowledging that this was only one part of navigating life with HIV.



Receive 30% off you own copy of A Reason to Live by entering the promo code PURDUE30 at checkout on our website.

“That Sheep May Safely Graze” – A Q&A with Author David Sherman

March 7th, 2019

That Sheep May Safely Graze (March 2019, Purdue University Press), by David Sherman, brings light to the human story of Afghanistan, the disruptive impact that decades long conflict has had on rural Afghans, their culture, and the timeless relationship they share with their land and their animals.

David Sherman

The book describes the story of one of the most successful and lasting U.S.-funded development programs in Afghanistan since the start of American nation-building efforts there in 2001. It is a story of bringing essential veterinary services to a society that depends day in and day out on the well-being and productivity of its animals, but also a society that had no reliable access to even the most basic animal health care.

The author of the book, David Sherman, has worked all over the world to provide essential veterinary services such as animal health service delivery, veterinary infrastructure development, transboundary animal disease control, goat health and production, and veterinary and veterinary para-professional education. His work has brought him to over 40 countries, working for a variety of international agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Heifer International, and Farm Africa.

Prior to the book’s publication, we asked David Sherman about his personal experiences in Afghanistan, the way the world views the country, and more.



Q: What made you want to write about your experiences?

David Sherman: Several things. The United States has been involved militarily in Afghanistan indirectly or directly since 1979 and yet Americans remain largely unaware of the country, its history and its people.  Having been involved in relief and development activities in Afghanistan since 1991, I have been able to gain a long-term experience with the country and its culture and I wanted to share that experience with a wider public. Also, for those who have followed events in Afghanistan, the prevailing view has been that billions of dollars have been spent on nation building with little to show for it. Therefore, I wanted to tell the story of our successful effort to provide sustainable animal health care in the country to a wider audience to illustrate that indeed, effective development in Afghanistan is possible.  Finally, I wanted to invite readers to get to know some of the fine and decent Afghans with whom I worked, so that they can better appreciate the warmth, grace and resilience of these people in the face of the tremendous hardships and losses they have suffered.


Q: What is the best story that didn’t make it into the book?

Sherman: Oh, so many it is hard to choose. But there was one that epitomized the challenges of doing development work in Afghanistan. I was able to organize a collaborative effort between my employer, the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan, US Army Civil Affairs officers, a British NGO and several volunteer veterinary practitioners from the US to refurbish the teaching clinic at the Kabul University Veterinary Faculty and restore their desperately needed clinical teaching program for veterinary students. Unfortunately, after we had it up and running and farmers were bringing their livestock and expats were bringing their dogs and cats for treatment, the clinic was bulldozed to make way for the newly created American University of Afghanistan!


Q: How do you feel the world’s perception of what is going on in Afghanistan lines up with your own experiences there?

Sherman: Sadly, what the world hears about Afghanistan – widespread corruption, ineffective governance, the opium trade, instability, poverty, insurgency and violence are all true, but the tragedy is that the world hears only about these things. Afghanistan is a country of 35 million people, the vast majority of whom get on with their lives, demonstrating a remarkable inner strength. Every day, they go to work, to market, to school, to the mosque to pray, to the fields to tend their crops, to the pastures to tend their animals, to funerals to mourn their dead and to weddings as an affirmation of their hopefulness for a better future. What the world does not hear about is the dignity and humanity of these Afghan people and their desire for peace and a better life for their children.


Q: How would you explain the importance of the work you did to a layperson?

Sherman: Through our work, we were able to establish reliable access to clinical veterinary services throughout Afghanistan. This was a vitally important achievement. Afghanistan is mainly a rural society whose people still depends largely on agriculture. It is estimated that the livelihoods of up to eighty percent of the population depend directly or indirectly on livestock. Nomadic herders, of which there are millions in the country, depend almost completely on their livestock to survive. Since the Soviet invasion in 1979 and the prolonged fighting that followed to this day, what little veterinary service that had been available to farmers and herders through government had essentially disappeared. As a result, the nation’s livestock had succumbed to a wide range of preventable and treatable diseases due to lack of vaccines and medicines and personnel trained in their use. The livelihoods and well-being of livestock owners as well as the national economy suffered as a result.

While there were numerous relief efforts over the years to provide veterinary services through various donor projects, these interventions were not sustainable because the service was provided for free and the personnel were paid salaries. When the projects ended and the free medicines and salaries disappeared, so did the veterinary services. We took a different approach, recruiting and training young men and later women from their home districts, providing them with a six-month training along with the necessary equipment and supplies required to provide good quality clinical services to their home districts once they returned after training. We made it clear from the beginning that we would pay no salaries and that these trained paraveterinarians would have to charge for their services so that they could earn enough money to provide their own income and to purchase their resupply of additional medicines and vaccines to continue working. This private sector, fee for service model worked very well. Since the first paraveterinarians were trained in 2004, almost 90% of them continue to provide animal health care services to the farmers and herders in their districts, some now for almost 15 years. As a result, hundreds of jobs were created for paraveterinarians, the health, welfare and productivity of Afghanistan livestock have been improved and the livelihoods of rural Afghans enhanced throughout the country.

David Sherman (center rear) in Afghanistan


Q: What are the most important ways your work affects the general public?

Sherman: Throughout the developing world and even in some parts of the developed world, tens of millions of animal owners do not have access to reliable animal health care. There are many reasons – remoteness, lack of roads, telecommunication and other infrastructure, war, civil unrest, misguided policies, insufficient numbers of veterinarians, lack of economic incentive for veterinarians to serve small holder farmers and nomads, poverty and inadequate knowledge of the benefits of veterinary services. The fee for service, private sector, community-based veterinary paraprofessional model for sustainable animal health care delivery that we refined in Afghanistan can serve as a model to improve access to veterinary services around the world.

The benefits of regular access to reliable animal health care are many, particularly in developing countries. Healthy, vaccinated animals offer protection against the disaster of unexpected loss of flocks and herds to disease, improved food security, better nutrition, increased income, expanded opportunities for value chain development in the livestock sector and even social stability for communities that depend on animals for their survival.


Q: If you could have readers take one thing away from this book, what would that be?

Sherman: If I may, I would like to quote a passage from the book to sum up what I would like readers to take away from it. “Sadly, despite so many years of American involvement, the Afghan people remain largely invisible to most Americans, and their hopes and aspirations, so similar to our own, remain unknown. My life has been enormously enriched by the many years spent in their midst and I have grown to love some individual Afghans as if they were my own family. The Afghan people are not faceless ciphers, conniving thieves, ruthless terrorists, and rabid fundamentalists. All societies are complex and contain undesirable elements. It is true of Afghan society as it is true of our own. The Afghans I worked with and came to know well are decent, hardworking people. They are generous, hospitable, good-humored, trustworthy, and devoted to family and community. They have deep and abiding religious faith. Afghans are proud of their country’s beauty, its varied cultures, and its long, rich history. Most of all, Afghans are resilient. They have suffered in ways over the past thirty years that most of us cannot even imagine. They want and deserve better. They want and deserve peace, security, prosperity, and a hopeful future.”

As I write this, the American government is engaged in peace talks with the Taliban. I pray that respect for the quality of life and the basic human rights of ordinary Afghans, especially Afghan women, is on the agenda.



That Sheep May Safely Graze: Rebuilding Animal Health Care in War-Torn Afghanistan is available now. Check out a free preview of the book.

Get 30% off when you order directly from the Purdue University Press website and enter the code “PURDUE30” at checkout.



Human-Animal Bond Series Editor Q&A for National Pet Week

May 10th, 2018

In order to celebrate National Pet Week we reached out to the editors of our book series, New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond, to ask them a few short questions about the series and their own pets. Both series editors are at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University. Alan Beck, ScD is director of the Center of the Human-Animal Bond and the Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology; and Marguerite (Maggie) E. O’Haire, PhD is an assistant professor of human-animal interaction in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology.

Q: What pets do you have currently and can you share a few pictures?


O’Haire: I have 2 dogs – Milo and Chloe.​ My dogs are both rescues. We recently did the dog DNA testing and Milo is a Beagle/Jack Russel Terrier mix and Chloe is an American Foxhound. Milo is almost 4 years old and Chloe is almost 14 years old.









Beck:   I now have two dogs, Lili (brown & white) and Luci (black & white); both rescue mutts. Two photos of Lili at two different ages.









Q: What inspired you to study/research the human-animal bond?


O’Haire: I have always been fascinated by how and why people interact with animals​. I am motivated to bring strong science to an area that has often been underappreciated by the scientific community.

Beck: Growing up in crowded Brooklyn, we had no pets, indeed very few people did. I would walk to the dumps to watch birds and rats. As a graduate student I studied the stray dogs of Baltimore and became fascinated with how people interacted with pets; the interactions changed the behavior and even the health of both the people and pets. I changed my focus of study and soon after moving to Indiana, I joined the ranks of dog owner.

Q: What would you like others to understand about your book series?


O’Haire: The New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series is a great ​venue to translate human-animal bond science into everyday language to reach a broader audience. We love receiving new submissions and look forward to continuing to help bright and innovative scholars share their work through the Purdue University Press.

Beck: The New Directions series begins to capture the many aspects of our relationship with animals, not always what you would like, but all part of the mutual world shared by people and their animals. Of great value, the series allows insights to major facets not always studied but still very important.


The New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series is published by Purdue University Press in collaboration with Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. It expands our knowledge of the interrelationships between people, animals, and their environment. Manuscripts are welcomed on all aspects of human-animal interaction and welfare, including therapy applications, public policy, and the application of humane ethics in managing our living resources.




The staff at the Purdue University Press loves our pets, too! Check out some pictures that we featured last month on National Pet Day!


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Beyond the Press: The Human-Animal Bond – guest post by Dianna Gilroy

November 16th, 2016

Note: A guest post by Purdue University Press staff member Dianna Gilroy is written as part of University Press Week and the blog tour coordinated by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP). The AAUP requested blog posts today on staff members making good and doing interesting things in their communities. Below, Dianna shares her passion for her work, editing books, and her work with dogs in our community.

I have been happy in my job as a member of the editorial team at Purdue University Press in working mainly on our scholarly books in the humanities, such as the Central European Studies series and Comparative Cultural Studies series, which I love; but also close to my heart is our New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond series, which connects closely to my work outside the press for animal adoption and welfare and has deepened my understanding of the importance of our connections with animals. The series examines all aspects of human-animal interaction and welfare, including animal-assisted therapy, public policy in areas from hoarding to dog parks, and humane ethics. I have marveled at the series’ accounts of the extraordinary relationships between people and animals—the physical and psychological healing abilities of dogs, the treatment of troubled young people through their connections with animals, and the value of animal parks and activities in our neighborhoods.

Afternoons with Puppy relates psychologist Aubrey Fine’s groundbreaking work in using animals to connect to children with, for example, ADHD, afternoons-w-puppy-coverlearning disabilities, or developmental disorders. In the case study of “Charles,” Fine sensed the boy’s feeling of humiliation and isolation, “revealed in a lowering of his head, a reluctance to make eye contact, and a slumping of his shoulders.” He brought in his golden retriever, Puppy, about whom he writes, “I am convinced that she possessed or more readily utilized some innate sense that allows her to respond to clients faster and on a different level than I can. In fact, I’ve learned that nonhuman contact allows for a huge increase in a patient’s comfort level while in the office.”

Fine notes that one strategy he uses in therapy is empathy, something that those of us who live with dogs have recognized in our beautiful friends again and again.

The discussion of animals’ usefulness in assisting those with psychological challenges has been growing recently, but for some time there has been popular and scientific documentation showing that the partnership with animals, especially dogs, facilitates the healing of a variety of physiological problems. Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound is a recent book that grew out of a program in Columbia, Missouri, where community residents went to the local animal shelter weekly for four weeks to walk a shelter dog for one hour. The project has helped over 1000 dogs to get their exercise, improve their leash-walking skills, and improve their socialization and chances at adoption, all the while making the volunteers more physically active themselves. Authors Phil Zeltzman and Rebecca A. Johnson outline a multitude of health and social benefits associated with dog ownership. For example, people who own dogs are healthier than people who don’t and make fewer visits to their doctor; dogs can lower our blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels; dog owners are more likely to survive after having a heart attack; dog owners, especially older ones, are more likely to get out with a pet, stay involved with others, and participate in recreational activities; and the presence of dogs makes neighborhoods safer by increasing social interactions and bringing a regular, reassuring presence to the area: it has been shown that people who have a dog with them are viewed by others as more likeable than those without a dog.

Teaming with Your Therapy Dog looks closely at the intimate relationship between therapy-dog handlers and their dogs, and recognizes the need for handlers to be respectful teammates with their dogs. Author Ann Howie notes that being a teammate requires attention to our own behavior, not just our dog’s. She offers those who live with therapy dogs principles of good teamwork and illustrates how they fit with the Therapy Dog’s Bill of Rights. Reviewer Kathy Klotz writes of the importance of these principles: “If we truly care about our dog partners who give themselves so valiantly to this kind of work, we realize that the role of a handler in a therapy team is pivotal. We must protect, advocate, and speak for our dogs, so that they can trust our support in the emotionally challenging situations in which we place them.”

I understand first-hand both the benefits and responsibilities that come with the human-animal relationship. Since I arrived in West Lafayette for graduate school, I have tried to help people understand the joy of dogs and the need to come to the aid of homeless animals. I have served on the board of a newly created dog park in Lafayette, which gives dog lovers in the community a place to meet other like-minded people and give both people and pets a place for fresh air and exercise. The board has also offered free talks at the local library about dog training, dog health issues, and other topics. Our park has been a clear benefit to the neighborhood in which it is located, in the ways that Zeltzman and Johnson describe. Crime has gone down, and the park has hosted many community events since it opened.

I have participated in or led a team in the local “Doggie Dash,” an annual fund-raising event for a no-kill animal shelter. The event raised awareness of the problem of homeless animals and raised several thousand dollars each year for the shelter.

And through the online global community, I have worked on a charity calendar through an online group of dog lovers called the #BTPosse (Border Terrier Posse on Twitter), a group located mainly in the UK but also in the EU, US, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. Since I started working on the calendar in 2014, we have raised about $25,000 for a UK shelter and animal welfare group. The #BTPosse is a bt-posse-calendarfascinating and endearing community of dogs (and their “staff”) who have their own accounts on twitter and speak to one another as dogs. Terms such as “noms,” “zoomies,” “sunpuddling,” “skwizzels,” “curious ears,” and “BOL” (bark out loud) appear in their conversations, as their “typists” channel the personalities of these charming terriers. The #BTPosse is a unique testament to the joy, hilarity, and wonder of the human-animal bond.