October update (meet our K9 supporters!)

Welcome to the Paws for Progress October update!

We’ll soon have a full seasonal update for you, but in the meantime we would like to fill you in with our latest news…

Paws at HM YOI Polmont

We have now begun our 3rd cycle of the course this year, which means that our human and canine students will soon be making one another’s acquaintance, building unique partnerships and developing valuable skills. We look forward to keeping you updated on how they’re all getting on. Here are a few sneak peeks of some of the dogs who will be taking part….


Paws in the community

Our new community services for children and young people have really taken off over the last few months. Check out our new webpage here to find out more.

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Fundraising / how you can get involved

We’ve been very fortunate to have lots of supporters getting in touch asking how they can get involved and help Paws for Progress. As a response to this we have now put together a new webpage detailing several different ways in which you can get involved and support us further. Please click here to view the page.

We’d particularly like to draw your attention to our current fundraising campaign through Local Giving, where you can now make donations online to support Paws for Progress, helping to improve the lives of people and animals in need. Any help donating or spreading the word about this campaign would be hugely appreciated. We’re raising money to contribute to the costs of having rescue dogs on our Polmont course, so any proceeds will be well spent.

Paws K9 Supporters

A huge thank you to everyone who has sent in photographs of their lovely dogs wearing Paws bandanas, we love receiving them! We hope you enjoy meeting some of our Paws K9 supporters in the slideshow below, and please be sure to keep the photos coming :)

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That’s all for now folks, thank you as always for being wonderful supporters and we look forward to giving you a more in-depth update soon!

The Value of Human Animal Interactions; a huge success

Wow! What an amazing experience. We have been completely blown away by the positive response to our event ‘The Value of Human Animal Interactions’ which took place last weekend. Thank you to absolutely EVERYONE involved, from our fantastic speakers who provided a valuable insight into the work going on in this field across the country, our wonderful guests who we were delighted to have the opportunity to connect with, our generous sponsors Blair Drummond Safari Park, our supporters KONG and last but not least the team of Paws staff and volunteers who have worked hard over the last few months preparing for the event. We are thrilled to learn that everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did, and that you all found it a valuable and inspiring experience.


The energy, passion and enthusiasm  from everyone involved was absolutely phenomenal. We really are delighted to have had the opportunity to bring together so many fantastic people from all over the country. From speaking to our guests, it is clear that there is a great desire for more opportunities to network and collaborate with others working in the field of Human Animal Interactions. There are several excellent organisations working to provide such opportunities to connect, such as People & Animals whose next meeting is in October 2015. Given the hugely positive reaction to our Paws for Progress event, we hope that Value HAI was the first of many events we will have the pleasure of hosting.


We really appreciate the amazing feedback we have had from our guests, as this is key to helping us shape our future events. See the bottom of this post for a snapshot of the feedback so far! If you attended the event and didn’t have the opportunity to give us some feedback, we would greatly appreciate it if you could follow the link here and download our event feedback form which can then be emailed to us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk.

Our special friendsWe’d like to take the opportunity to give you an overview of the event and the excellent speakers who attended to share their knowledge, experience and details regarding the organisations they are involved in. Click on the links to find out more about each organisation.


“This was genuinely the best conference I have ever attended, so inspiring and right in line with my interests and aspirations.”


The Value of Human Animal Interactions: Event Summary

We were very pleased that many delegates provided displays and stands to share the work of the organisations they were representing. Throughout the two days there were many opportunities to network among the stands, providing a fantastic opportunity for guests to connect and find out more about other organisations. Each day, the morning talks were opened by a warm welcome from Richard Tuckley, Chair of the Board of Directors at Paws for Progress CIC.

Friday 18th September, 2015.

On Friday, Rebecca Leonardi (Paws for Progress) shared exclusive insights into the paneldevelopment of the Paws at HM YOI Polmont programme where we have been very successfully working with young offenders and rescue dogs for over four years. In addition to exploring how this programme developed, Rebecca highlighted features which are integral to the successful development of HAI programmes in general.

We were thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Ormerod as a guest speaker on behalf of IAHAIO as she has been a pioneer in this field for many years and has always been a huge support to us at Paws for Progress. Liz gave a valuable insight into critical aspects of animal welfare that we should consider when delivering animal assisted interventions, and discussed the importance of carefully matching the suitability of each individual animal’s characteristics (including species, breed, temperament and energy requirements) to specific programmes to better enhance their welfare and the well-being of the people interacting with them.

“I liked the honest, personal experiences that presenters shared with us during the presentations.”

Our special friends close up
Belinda Johnston from Our Special Friends then gave an excellent presentation sharing the work that she and her team of volunteers are carrying out through OSF, a young charity which has huge potential for enhancing the well-being of vulnerable people. She highlighted the importance of considering the impact of involvement in Animal Assisted Activities for all involved, not only the clients and animals but also the volunteers. Belinda highlighted the importance of working collaboratively with multiple organisations to enhance one another’s work, a theme which was reiterated throughout the event.
The afternoon sessions consisted of a selection of workshops and talks facilitated by speakers from a range of impressive organisations based throughout the UK.
On the Friday afternoon, Selina Gibsone shared some of the excellent work which is being carried out by Dogs for the Disabled. It was brilliant to hear how Dogs for the Disabled have now bSelinaranched out through their “Community Dog” project to work with young people in schools. In part to reflect their work with a wider range of people, Dogs for the Disabled is being rebranded and will soon become Dogs for Good. Selina’s workshop also provided the opportunity for delegates to get involved and go back to the drawing board when designing a new Animal Assisted Intervention, giving us the chance to discuss the key first steps when developing an AAI and to consider the challenges we may face.

“This is the first Human Animal Interaction event I have attended after dozens of one or the other. Having set up a Human Animal Interaction organisation it was refreshing & enlightening to meet others in the field & learn about other organisations work.”

Tracie Faa-Thompson, from Turn About Pegasus, delivered a fascinating workshop exploring how Animal Assisted Play Therapy can achieve positive outcomes for disadvantaged and disengaged young people. In an inspiring discussion,Tracie shared how the activities that she delivers through Turn About Pegasus develop young people’s caring skills and empathy, improve communication and interpersonal relationships, and improve their confidence. In the absence of her skilled team of equine co-therapists, Tracie gave us an opportunity to experience a communication task using bananas as a substitute, which was both thought provoking and a lot of fun!

We were particularly pleased to have a representative from our generous sponsors, Blair Drummond Safari Park, attending as a guest speaker. Craig Holmes, head of Barbary Macaques and Tigers at the local Safari Park, looked at Human Animal blair drummond logoInteractions in a different area by discussing the welfare of the captive animals he works with. This provided a valuable insight into the benefits of training for exotic animals for their welfare, health and enrichment. Craig also explained the importance of connecting the visitors and animals in order to raise awareness and improve the future of both wild and captive exotic animals. There is some very exciting and pioneering training going on at Blair Drummond, and Craig and his team are clearly dedicated and passionate about enhancing the welfare of the animals they care for.

“A well organised event that introduced and explored a number of new topics for me. You did the topic of Human Animal Interactions justice.”
Kerri Bee shared details of the innovative work of  SPPOT, Supporting People and Pets through Opportunity and Training, a unique social enterprise in Wales. SPPOT brings the needs of people together with the needs of dogs, through the provision KerriAshaof quality-driven training, volunteering opportunities, services and events. Kerri explained how training courses for people are at the core of their work; SPPOT specialise in training people who have long term illnesses, disabilities or other disadvantages as Dog Walkers, Home Boarders and Pet Sitters, whilst also benefiting dogs too, by promoting kind, effective methods of training and handling and providing skilled volunteers to help dogs in the community. It was fantastic to hear about such an excellent initiative which benefits all involved.
 After a busy day, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to spend a relaxed evening socialising and networking further over dinner. From the feedback our guests have provided, one of the key benefits of attending the event was the networking, and the opportunity to meet like-minded people. Another recurring theme throughout the event was the importance of engaging in collaborative working, and spending time together sharing our experiences is key to creating the opportunity to connect and collaborate.
 “A wonderful event and fantastic opportunity for networking. It was a great honour to be a guest speaker.”

Saturday 19th September

The incredible positivity and enthusiasm from the first day of the event continued into the second. Our speakers and delegates  did a phenomenal job once again, starting on the Saturday with a talk from Rebecca Leonardi from Paws for Progress.
This time, Rebecca focused on the outcomes of the evaluation of Paws for Progress at HM YOI Polmont. This was an exclusive opportunity to share the overwhelmingly positive impact that this prison based programme for young people and rescue dogs has for all parties involved.
 “Huge thanks to Paws for Progress for an exceptionally fascinating, enjoyable & often moving conference. Congratulations on the amazing evaluation results.”
The research focus continued on the Saturday morning as Rebecca’s description of the evaluation of Paws for Progress was followed by a talk by Joanne Williams, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Jo discussed
the importance of increasing our focus on the relationship between children and animals, which sadly is often neglected as an area of research. Jo shared how Joanne WIlliamsresearch and practise can be effectively integrated, describing her experiences collaborating together with a team of researchers and partnering organisations to educate children and young people to promote positive Human Animal Interactions and enhance animal welfare. Research clearly pays a critical role, enabling us to better understand and enhance relationships between children and animals.
Jo’s work linked in extremely well with that of our next speaker, Lesley Winton, who paw-in-handshared with us the incredible work that is being carried out in Scotland through the Fostering Compassion programme. The programme works with cared for children and animals to engage children positively with animals and help to reverse the negative cycle of abuse they may have suffered. Hearing about the impact this work is having on young people was emotional at times, but overwhelmingly inspiring. Once again, the importance of connecting and collaborating with other organisations was highlighted, which was promptly followed by more networking over lunch.
 “You have all inspired me in the topic of Human Animal Interactions.” 
Our afternoon workshops were again facilitated by a wide range of organisations, giving access to the wealth of different work which is being carried out across the UK.
Jeni Lennox from Dementia Dog delivered a beautiful presentation about this exciting young project which is based in Scotland and was developed collaboratively by Alzheimer Scotland and Dogs for the Disabled. She shared the incredible work that the Dementia Dog team are doing to support people liDementia Dogving with Dementia and their families, whether that be through practical, emotional or social support. The way in which the dogs are able to contribute to all these different forms of support in an unparalleled fashion was fascinating to hear about, and sparked an interesting discussion on the positive support that pet dogs, even those who are not trained as support dogs, provide their owners.

Katie Bristow, from People & Animals delivered a fascinating workshop exploring how Katie Bristow (2)Animal Assisted Interventions can be utilised to help improve a wide range of outcomes. Katie discussed how activities and intervention goals can be designed to target individual needs, whilst also emphasising the importance of remaining flexible and responsive, and considering what the broader effects and benefits may be. Through interactive tasks, our guests explored different scenarios and discussed how interacting with animals and integrating activities with the individual client’s interests can really maximise the benefits for those involved.

“Venue was great, organisation excellent,  thank you so much for a brilliant event.”


The final workshops on the Saturday continued to provide valuable insights into the Value of Human Animal Interactions in different contexts.
Ruby Shorrock, founder of the Trusty Paws Clinic which provides free vet treatment for homeless peoples’s dogs, ran a thought provoking workshop which considered attitudes towards homeless people who own dogs, Ruby featureand the impact of homelessness on both parties. Discussions explored the incredible bond created by living in such close proximity with an animal, providing constant companionship to each other, whilst also highlighting the need to provide more support for homeless people who own dogs, such as more dog friendly hostels and opportunities to access veterinary treatment. This workshop was eye-opening, and it was wonderful to hear about the excellent work that has been carried out at the Trusty Paws Clinic since it was founded last year.
Marion Janner, who set up the charity Star Wards to provide improved experiences for mental health patients and staff, gave a moving testimonial of what life is like for sleepy buddysomeone with mental illness, and the positive impact that her support dog Buddy has had through providing non-judgemental companionship and support. The close partnership between Marion and Buddy was a delight to see, and it was wonderful to hear from the perspective of someone who has made an active change to help others who are also struggling from mental illness.


msc students“A wonderful opportunity.”

“This was the best conference ever (and I have been to dozens and dozens in the past), thank you.” 

“It was mind-blowing, I will be coming again.”

“Excellent conference – superb. Cutting edge presentations.” 

       “Well structured, friendly and excellent  opportunity for networking.”


Less than two weeks until ‘The Value of Human Animal Interactions’!

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We are thrilled to announce that Blair Dummond Safari Park will be our headline sponsor at our upcoming event, ‘The Value of Human Animal Interactions‘.

This will be a truly amazing event, in which we will consider the value of positive interactions between people and animals, exploring the mutually beneficial effects of these connections. With less than two weeks to go, there are still some spaces remaining, so don’t miss out – book your ticket now!


We have been updating our ‘Value of Human Animal Interactions’ event page and releasing further details of the exciting schedule planned for this two day event.This includes speaker profiles and details of the fantastic workshops we have lined up, as well as details of the social events in the evening.

We will continue to release further details here as we approach the event. You can also keep up to date on the latest news about the event via the Value of Human Animal Interactions event page on Facebook, or via Paws for Progress on Facebook or Twitter.

Blair Drummond Safari Park

We are very grateful for the support of our main sponsor, Blair Drummond Safari Park, who do excellent work to promote animal welfare and educate and inspire young people. Blair Drummond Safari Park will also be represented in our interactive workshops, showcasing their valuable contribution to animal welfare and education.

We are thrilled to have such support for this event, with so many wonderful organisations represented across the two days, sharing best practise and expertise in Human Animal Interactions and showcasing the innovative and inspiring work happening here in the UK. This event also provides an exclusive opportunity to gain an in depth understanding of Paws for Progress development and the results of the evaluation of the first prison based dog training programme in the UK.

Very soon, we will be welcoming our delegates to the stunning venue at the Stirling Court Hotel and sharing this brilliant experience with you all. Please contact us for any further information about the event; we look forward to seeing you there soon!

Unleashing Potential

Summer Update 2015

Paws circle logo We’re delighted to have the opportunity to update you on recent developments at Paws for Progress. It has been a busy and productive year so far, and we have lots to share about the Human Animal Interaction and training programmes that we provide for people and animals who need our support.

Unleash potential Our prison based rescue dog training programme has gone from strength to strength, and thanks to the Big Lottery Young Start Fund and Comic Relief we were able to increase our staff team this year. We’re also delivering new projects for young people in the community and expanding our services to new contexts. In July we hosted the first of a series of Paws for Progress events, a dog training seminar and we look forward to hosting our first two day event The Value of Human Animal Interactions on the 18th and 19th of September 2015.

Paws for Progress – Unleashing Potential: Developments

Paws at Polmont Ghillie

We continue to be extremely grateful to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) for the excellent support provided to our rescue dog training programme at HM YOI Polmont. In addition to providing a full-time member of prison staff for the cou rse the SPS have also fully refurbished our training area. We welcomed our students back to our new purpose built facilities in April, and the 2nd cycle of 2015 is now underway.


Outcomes for both the people and dogs involved in our project continue to be very positive, and our excellent partnerships with Fife College and the University of Stirling continue to prove invaluable.

PFP van 1

Thank you also to The Clothworkers’ Foundation and Foundation Scotland for their generous funding of our new vehicle, enabling us to transport rescue dogs to and from the project at Polmont.

We are ever grateful to our generous funders such as The Robertson Trust who provide us with the resources to maintain and enhance our existing projects and to develop new initiatives.

New initiatives in Scottish prisons

We are keen to continue our excellent partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and extend our services to priority groups in custody throughout Scotland. Our user led and outcome focussed approach to the development of human animal interaction programmes mean that there is great interest in the ways in which our services can address the issues faced by ex-offenders, whilst also providing mutual benefits to the community.We are therefore in the exploratory stage of multiple new developments and look forward to updating our supporters with more details later this year.

Community Projects media 004

Following the success of our prison based rescue dog training programme we are now developing and delivering services in the community. There is great potential for our services in a preventative setting, working with school and community groups, providing valuable opportunities for engagement with services through positive Human Animal Interactions.

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Since May 2015 we have been working in partnership with Barnardo’s Scotland in Edinburgh to provide an innovative Human Animal Interaction programme for young people aged 12-17 with additional support needs. We work closely with the Barnardo’s Scotland team to enhance the excellent support they provide, focusing on helping the young people to improve their confidence, skills and abilities whilst engaging positively with learning.The results and response to the course have been extremely positive.

I feel AMAZING each day when I leave

Student, Paws at Barnardo’s, 2015

In our community projects, we involve our team of trained staff dogs who enjoy interacting with young people. The students learn about dog behaviour, care and positive reinforcement training, and participate in fun interactive activities with the dogs, including agility.

He has grown in confidence, developed peer relationships and more trust in adults as well as developing skills required for group work

Support worker, Paws at Barnardos, 2015.

Following the success of our pilot project with Barnardo’s Scotland we look forward to continuing to provide services for young people in the community, with several new developments due to begin this Autumn – more details coming soon.

Development Summary

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As you can see, Paws for Progress is taking a preventative approach with young people in the community in addition to a rehabilitative approach within custodial settings, and retains a strong focus on enabling the successful reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. Our initiatives are designed to be mutually beneficial, providing direct benefits to participating dogs and providing valuable education to increase understanding and improve the care provided to dogs, thereby having a significant impact on the welfare of many more dogs in the UK. Our programmes also provide considerable benefits to society, by engaging our participants in charitable activities which encourage pro-social identities, unleashing the potential of young people and ex-offenders to contribute positively to their communities.

Events & Fundraising


Thank you to all of our speakers and guests who attended our July seminar last month, it was an excellent evening and going forward, we will be holding several seminars a year on a variety of topics, with a focus on Human Animal Interactions (HAI). Keep an eye on our seminar page here as well as our Facebook page for details about upcoming seminars.  

The Value of Human Animal Interactions

We are thrilled to be hosting a two day event focusing on “The Value of Human Animal Interactions” on the 18th and 19th of September. This is a brilliant opportunity for practitioners and those interested in Human Animal Interactions (HAI) to connect with experts in the field, share knowledge and advance their professional development by taking part in interactive workshops and attending talks from a range of excellent speakers. See our events page for more details, including early bird rates (available until 14th August so book soon!).

Paws Merchandise


We recently launched our new merchandise range with the sale of Paws for Progress bandanas for dogs, which have been going down well with our canine friends. If you would like to purchase a bandana then please email us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk

Amazon Wish List

We are particularly grateful to the wonderful supporters who have donated hundreds of pounds worth of items from our Amazon Wish List. We were blown away by the amazing response following our appeals for treats, toys, harnesses and educational books for our courses.Thank you for your generous donations; we hope our supporters will continue to help us by visiting our Amazon Wish List and providing valuable resources for our students.

Caledonian Challenge

Our thanks to our supporters who raised £300 earlier this year volunteering as marshals at the Caledonian Challenge. This is an annual event held in June to raises money for Foundation Scotland, providing smaller businesses with funding and support.

If you would like to help Paws for Progress fundraise then please do get in touch with your ideas and get involved – see ‘Contact us‘ for details.

Education & Research

Stirling Human Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre

We are proud to be working closely with the University of Stirling as they move forward with several exciting developments in Human Animal Interactions. From September onwards the University is launching a new taught Postgraduate course, the MSc in “Human Animal Interaction”. Details for this unique course are available on the University website. The new MSc will coincide with the development of the Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre, to be launched later this year. We are thrilled to be continuing our excellent partnership with the University and supporting these exciting new endeavours.

Research and Evaluation

Rebecca Leonardi, our Founding Director, has been collecting and analysing data from the Paws at Polmont course over a three year period. She is now at the final stages of writing up her PhD thesis which is titled “Paws for Progress: The development and evaluation of a prison based dog training programme”. We are looking forward to sharing the results with our partners, funders and supporters over the next few months at stakeholder meetings and our events. This research has particular value as it provides the first evidence of the effectiveness of HAI Interventions in custodial settings in the UK. With the support of the University of Stirling we will continue to monitor all of our services to ensure they are effective and meet the needs of our participants, remaining outcome focussed in our service development.

Further updates

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We were honoured to welcome the Earl of Wessex to our dog training course during his recent visit to HM YOI Polmont. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to share their experiences working with the rescue dogs, and we feel privileged to have had such a distinguished visitor take an interest in the work that we do. During the visit to our facilities he met the young men who are taking part in the current programme and observed a training display with the dogs. The visit was a great success and we are very grateful to the Earl for his interest and time.

Thank you to our partners, supporters and funders

As ever we are very thankful for the many individuals and organisations that support our work, including the range of guest speakers who visit Paws at Polmont and the many organisations that provide work experience and volunteering. We would also like to thank all of those organisations who have provided funding to us; without you we could not carry out the crucial work that we do (see here for a list of our funders, partners and supporting organisations).

Our thanks to all our supporters for helping us achieve our aims; enhancing the wellbeing of people and animals, and promoting and supporting positive human animal interactions.

With best wishes from all the team at Paws for Progress – we look forward to updating you further soon.

Event schedule now available for “The Value of Human Animal Interactions”

Paws for Progress is proud to present the preliminary programme for our exciting upcoming event “The Value of Human Animal Interactions” which will be held on Friday the 18th and Saturday the 19th of September at the Stirling Court Hotel. This is a brilliant opportunity for practitioners and those interested in Human Animal Interactions (HAI) to connect with experts in the field, share knowledge and advance their Continuing Professional Development by taking part in interactive workshops and attending talks from a range of excellent speakers. We will be focusing on the value of HAI within a variety of settings including healthcare, education and rehabilitation.

Follow the following link to see our full preliminary programme

For more details on the event see our event page

Please get in touch with us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk with any enquiries.


We have guest speakers attending from organisations based throughout the UK, you can find out more about the organisations they are involved in by clicking on the links below.

Rebecca Leonardi, Paws for Progress

Elizabeth Ormerod, SCAS and IAHAIO

Belinda Johnston, Our Special Friends

Joanne Williams, The University of Edinburgh

Lesley Winton, Fostering Compassion

Selina Gibsone, Dogs for the Disabled

Tracie FaaThompson,Turn about Pegasus

Kerri Bee, SPPOT

Ruby Shorrock, The Trusty Paws Clinic

Marion Janner, Star Wards

Jeni Lennox, Dementia Dog

Katie Bristow, People & Animals


We look forward to welcoming you to our event this September

“The Value of Human Animal Interactions” Event

Sept event

The Value of Human Animal Interactions

Paws for Progress are delighted to invite you to join us at our exciting two day event coming up in September, where we and our guests will explore the incredible relationship that people have with animals and the mutual value of positive Human Animal Interactions to both parties involved.

On Friday 18th and Saturday 19th of September, Paws for Progress are hosting an event focusing on “The Value of Human Animal Interactions” at the Stirling Court Hotel.  This exciting two day event gives us the chance to bring together multiple organisations and individuals with similar interests from around the country. It will be a brilliant opportunity to share details on the development and evaluation of our positive Human Animal Interaction programmes at Paws for Progress, and to hear about the development of other organisations and projects within the Human Animal Interaction and Animal Assisted Intervention fields.

Unleash potential

The event will provide valuable networking opportunities, engaging workshops and talks from an excellent range of guest speakers who will discuss the value of Human Animal Interactions within a variety of settings including healthcare, education and the community.Featuring talks from Rebecca Leonardi (Paws for Progress / University of Stirling), Elizabeth Ormerod (SCAS), Jo Williams (University of Edinburgh), Belinda Johnston (Our Special Friends) and Lesley Winton (Fostering Compassion).

Interactive workshops will be facilitated by representatives from a range of organisations including Turn about Pegasus, Dogs for the Disabled, Dementia Dog, Star Wards, SPPOT, People and Animals and many more.  We are truly delighted to have so many fantastic organisations involved!

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For more information about the event then please click here and to book tickets click here. Early Bird tickets are currently available, so please don’t hesitate; book now while this fantastic offer lasts!

There will also be the opportunity for organisations attending the event to set up stalls, free of charge, at the event. If you are interested in doing so then please email us at info@pawsforprogress.co.uk for more information.

We look forward to welcoming you soon for an excellent two days of learning and sharing experiences.

With best wishes,

The Paws for Progress Team.

Human-Animal Interaction

The University of Stirling is offering a new Masters programme in Human-Animal Interaction (HAI), commencing September 2015. The University’s taught MSc/postgraduate diploma courses provide excellent training for a research career or for professional development.University of Stirling

This course introduces a broad range of topics and considers human-animal interactions across contexts, from pet owning to animal assisted interventions, zoos, farms and conservation. It will cover interdisciplinary approaches and a diverse range of methods used to research our relationships with other species.

For more information please see http://www.stir.ac.uk/postgraduate/programme-information/prospectus/psychology/humananimalinteraction/

Psychology at Stirling was ranked 3rd in Scotland (and 18th in the UK) in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and was one of only four UK institutions ranked as outstanding for research impact. The division has a vibrant research culture and offers exciting opportunities for taught postgraduate students to integrate with the research community.

Ellie H5Paws for Progress was developed in partnership with the University of Stirling, and we continue to be grateful for their excellent support. We are really excited to be involved in the development of the Stirling Human-Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre and will continue to work in partnership to evaluate our initiatives.

Human-Animal Interaction is a vital field of research. Humans share this planet with other animals, and our interactions are at the core of our everyday lives. For many of us, animals are considered members of HAIour family, both living with us and sharing in our lives. We farm and eat animals, we keep them as working companions (e.g. guide dogs), as models for humans in laboratory research (e.g. disease and toxicology), use them in therapeutic contexts, and in education, entertainment and ecotourism. Depending upon our perceptions and attitudes towards animals, and in relation to the impact they have on us and the environment, we may actively attempt to understand them, conserve them, domesticate them or eradicate them. Despite the ubiquitous nature of human-animal interactions, and research that falls under this umbrella term, interdisciplinary links are rarely made, providing an incomplete understanding of the interactions, and the mechanisms underlying their costs and benefits.

As such SHAIR’s Mission is “to re-write our understanding of ways in which humans and animals interact, the mechanisms underlying the costs and benefits of interactions, and to develop methodology for evaluating interactions and promoting positive outcomes”.

Please share details of these exciting developments with others who are interested in Human-Animal Interactions and help build and strengthen this vitally important field of research.