The Value of Human Animal Interactions

The Value of HAI
The Value of Human Animal Interactions

Sponsored by Blair Drummond Safari Park 

Date (PASSED): Friday 18th to Saturday 19th September 2015

Time: 9am – 4.30pm each day

Venue:  Stirling Court Hotel at the University of Stirling

Further details on talks and workshops here

Full event programme here

At Paws for Progress we were thrilled to host a fantastic two day event focusing on “The Value of Human-Animal Interactions” in September 2015 at the University of Stirling. We were joined by guests from across the country to explore and celebrate the incredible relationship between humans and animals. 

A massive thank you to everyone involved who made our first two day event such a phenomenal success! Keep an eye on our website and social media for details on future events similar to this one.

For a summary of the event please see our September blog post.

This event’s headline sponsor wasBlair drummond logo Blair Drummond Safari Park, who do excellent work to promote animal welfare and educate and inspire young people. We are very grateful for their generous support. The event was also supported by KONG, whose products are  regularly enjoyed by the KONG logo with Tag Linedogs on our courses. Many thanks to KONG for their support.

If you are interested in finding out about the benefits we can offer to sponsors of future events please contact us at


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

Interactive workshops and talks were facilitated by representatives from a range of organisations including Turn about Pegasus, Dogs for the Disabled, Dementia Dog, Star Wards, SPPOT, People and Animals, Blair Drummond Safari Park, and The Trusty Paws Clinic.  We are truly delighted to have had so many fantastic organisations involved, and are very grateful for their support and valuable input into this event!

bonnie edited lead

Recent Posts

Reflecting on 2016 and welcoming the start to 2017 with Paws for Progress…

We had a whirlwind few months at the end of 2016, followed by some very welcome quiet time over the holidays for our team and the dogs to relax for a while. It’s great to be getting busy again now though, with lots of new students joining us this January, and it’s lovely to see lots of familiar faces too, as our graduate students play a key role by returning to help on the services.

Molly from Staffie Smiles Rescue completed our rescue dog training programme just before Christmas, and stayed with us over the festive season as she will continue developing her skills further with us this year. Here she is enjoying a lovely sunny winter walk over the holidays – who can resist this gorgeous face?! We hope Molly will find her forever home soon, she is a truly lovely girl.


Molly from Staffie Smiles Rescue is a lovely girl who is still looking for her forever home!

Autumn 2016 kicked off with a busy start  with our annual conference in October. This year we were focusing on how Human Animal Interactions can enhance learning and health, and we had a line up of fantastic speakers from organisations such as Dogs for Good, Turn About Pegasus, IAHAIO, and Medical Detection Dogs. We were also delighted to share exclusive insights into our work at Paws for Progress with our delegates, including a practical session with our team of Paws Ambassadogs!

The enthusiasm and energy of all of our delegates helped to make the event a huge success once again. Here is what some of them had to say:

“A very inspiring conference. Very interesting, good networking opportunities. Fantastic presentations – amazing humans and dogs”

“Thank you for a great day on an interesting and important topic! Your dogs are gorgeous”

“A really inspiring mix of people and stories in the room! Hello career change

 Discussions and talks explored the many different ways and settings in which animals can have a really positive impact on people young and old, and throughout there was a theme of ensuring that the interactions were beneficial and  enjoyable for the animals tooburns-by-your-side-logo-final!

Burns Logo with strapline 2015




We are so grateful to our fantastic event sponsors for their generous support of the event, Burns Pet Nutrition. It was wonderful to hear about the fantastic work they are doing in Wales with their school reading dog project “Burns By Your Side“.

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In October we were also delighted to welcome our new Community Instructor, Kirsty, and her team of dogs! We are very grateful to BBC Children in Need for funding this key role for the next 3 years, enabling us to provide tailored Human Animal Interaction services to more children and young people in the community. See our Paws in the Community page to find out more about this exciting area of work!


Paws Ambassadogs – Mojo, Bug, Jack, Bonnie, Ellie and Dan – having fun together on their lunchtime walk. All great characters, who thoroughly enjoy their involvement in helping us teach children and young people all about dogs!


We have also been working on more exciting new developments at Paws for Progress, as we continue to expand our services for women in custody and also prepare to pilot a new service at HMP Castle Huntly. We look forward to sharing more details about both of these projects with you soon.

We finished the year with a fantastic event,  the Doggy Christmas Market fundraiser for Paws for Progress at Safe Paws! Hosted by Safe Paws, Broadleys Veterinary Hospital & Paws for Progress, Stirling’s first Doggy Christmas Market included lots of fabulous festive doggy stalls, a visit from Santa Paws, a fun dog show, supervised dog play parks, dancing with dogs performances, a scent work demonstration, and lots more!

It was a fabulous day, enjoyed by humans and dogs alike, and we are very grateful to all involved. We are thrilled with the success of this event, which raised over £1500 for Paws for Progress – this will make a big difference, allowing us to help improve the lives of more people and animals through our services. We are looking forward to working with our co-hosts to organise another Doggy Christmas Market this year – our special thanks to Safe Paws and Broadleys Vets for making this possible.


January 2017 – NOW RECRUITING

We are extremely excited to be able to offer a unique and incredible opportunity for a talented and enthusiastic individual to join our team.

A vacancy has become available for the position of Course Instructor, an essential role facilitating our prison based rescue dog training programme at HM YOI Polmont.

If you’re passionate about helping people and animals and are looking for an exciting and rewarding role in an innovative and inspiring organisation, we would love to hear from you.

The application closing date is Friday 27th January 2017. To find out more about the role and apply please go to our vacancy page at:


Our thanks to everyone for supporting Paws for Progress, we look forward to sharing more news with you soon.



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