Tribute Comfort Dogs Joins Research Team

     We are very excited to announce we have joined Dr. Angela Fournier and her research team in exploring animal assisted interactions.  

     Dr. Angela Fournier is a professor of psychology at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN.  Her Ph.D. is in clinical psychology from Virginia Tech.  She is a licensed psychologist and certified mental health specialist in equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning. Her research interests include the psychology of human-animal interaction and community health behavior.


     We will be participating in her study of the kind of interactions that occur between people and animals during therapy animal visits.  Dr. Fournier has developed a tool to measure and describe human-animal interactions, known as the Human-Animal Interaction Scale (HAIS).  

     The purpose of this study is to gather more information on the HAIS by using it with many people, animals and situations.  The goal is to be able to describe the range and trends in interactions that occur during therapy animal visits.


Animal Assisted Interactions and the Science Behind It


              What science knows:

              Research shows that positive interaction with animal increase endorphins, oxytocin, prolactin and dopamine.  

              These hormones are associated with blood pressure regulation, pain relief, stress relief and joy.


              What science does not know:

              How much interaction occurs during animal assisted work?

              What kind of interaction occurs during animal assisted work?

              How much and what kinds of interactions are the most helpful to the humans AND the animals involved?

Our Part


After each of our comfort dog visits we will document both human and animal behaviours that occurred during the session by completing the HAIS form.  We will be scoring what happens during our visits, such as amount of talking, touching, playing, looking at..etc.  


The Reward


At the completion of the study we will receive individualized team reports summarizing our interactions, as well as, our interactions compared to others assisting with the study.  We look forward to receiving scientific feedback from our visits that will help us become better “listeners” to our constituents and to our K9 partners.  Which will ultimately make us a better organization overall.    

***It is important to know that this will/does not affect our work.  We will not share any personal information of those we visit.  Everything we submit will be under an anonymous code that will protect our and our clients’ privacy.***