HABRI awards research grant to Colorado State University


The grant will fund a project investigating the challenges

Kirsten Davis/peopleimages.com/stock.adobe.com

Kirsten Davis/peopleimages.com/stock.adobe.com

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute announced that it will be funding a new project led by researchers at Colorado State University. The project, led by Jennifer Currin-McCulloch, PhD, and Lori Kogan, PhD, will investigate the challenges survivors of cancer face in caring for pets throughout treatment and recovery. According to the release, the researcher’s goal of the study is to inform the development of clinical assessment as well as interventions to better address pet-related needs.1

“Cancer is one of the most common illnesses in the United States, and while the impact of human social support on cancer survivors is well documented, the influence of pets on survivors’ wellbeing is not,” explained Currin-McCulloch.1 “In conducting this research, we hope to help cancer survivors enjoy the benefits of their relationship with their pet by minimizing the stress involved with meeting their pets’ needs during their survivorship trajectory.”

Although previous research has shown the benefits emotional connection support pets have on their owners who are going through treatment or remission of cancer,2 there is a knowledge gap when it comes to benefits or practical day-to-day strains these clients may face emotionally and physically. The objectives the researcher laid out are to explore the benefits, stressors, and social support structure that survivors of cancer face when it comes to caring for their pets.1

Through an online mixed methods survey, the researchers are hoping to identify if and how pets serve as emotional support as well as potential stressors for patients. The survey will also explore how a support system can promote the ability to provide for the pet's emotional and physical well-being. The researchers expect that through the survey, they will be able to identify gaps in pet care resources needed and resources to help communicate their relationship with their pet to their pet's veterinary and medical care teams.1

“Identifying where gaps exist in current support services is an essential first step to meet the needs of cancer survivors and their pets,” said Steven Feldman, president of HABRI. “HABRI is proud to fund this research, which we hope will provide support for pet owners who are survivors of cancer or undergoing cancer treatment.”

Findings from the study will be published as a website for survivors that will include tools to help build support for pet ownership and guides to communicate their needs with medical and veterinary providers.


  1. New research to help meet the needs of cancer. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute. News release. June 17, 2024. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://habri.org/pressroom/20240617
  2. Lopes-Conceição L, Peleteiro B, Araújo N, et al. Pet ownership during the first 5 years after breast cancer diagnosis in the NEON-BC cohort. Eur J Public Health. 2023;33(3):455-462. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckad065
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