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COVID-19 and human-animal bonds: A researcher-practitioner partnership committed to ensuring animal welfare, enhancing human well-being, and building human-animal resilience

Project Overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a far-reaching effect on both human and non-human communities. The severe socioeconomic outcomes and public health protocols have been dramatically influencing pet guardians’ accessibility to veterinary medical and behavioral services, which may result in conceivable relinquishment and other unfavorable human-animal interactions, jeopardizing animal welfare, human well-being, and human-animal resilience capacity. Collaborating with the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS, the partner organization), this coast-to-coast researcher-practitioner interdisciplinary partnership has identified the following three essential reasons during the Covid-19 outbreak that a nuanced understanding of pet guardians’ actions concerning veterinary medical and behavioral interventions is urgently needed: (1) the theoretical drive: the systematic examination of the pet guardians’ behaviors contributes to the current empirical research in human-animal welfare, promoting the VHS’s theoretical foundation supported by the One Welfare outlook; (2) the practical necessities: the complete identification of the pet guardians’ challenges provides evidence-based strategies to improve VHS and community-based veterinary service and animal protection agencies’ service delivery models and emergency response plans; and (3) the policy/decision-making initiatives: this pandemic provides a vital opportunity for VHS and other animal protection agencies to improve policy initiatives for redressing unhealthy human-animal bonds and rebuilding their respective resilience capacities.

Study Design

Case-control Study

Project Keywords

COVID-19; Researcher-practitioner partnership; One Welfare; Human and animal bonds; Human-animal welfare; Human-animal resilience; Practice and policy interventions, Veterinary medical and behavioural services; Animal protection; General public education

Principal Investigator

Name: Haorui

Title: Dr.

Department or Unit: School of Social Work

Organization: Dalhousie University

Co-Project Investigators

  • Name: Amy
    Title: Director
    Organization: Vancouver Humane Society

Funding Source

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Engage Grants

Expected Study Timeline

October 1, 2020-September 30, 2021

Study Design

Case-control Study

Primary Methods of Data Collection

Interview and focus groups

Unit of Analysis

individuals and organziations

Study Population(s)

pet guardians

Sample Size


Geographic Focus Area(s)

Vancouver, BC, Canada

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