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ReCHAI to Sponsor
Pet Education Day

Children who interact with pets can be motivated to increase their physical activity, learn responsibility and experience unconditional love, companionship and stress relief.

To help children learn more about safely interacting with pets, the University of Missouri Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) will sponsor a pet education event for children from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 31 in the Adams Conference Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine, 1600 E. Rollins Road.

Activities at the event will include a special reading corner where children can choose a book to read to a therapy dog, a safety lesson on how to approach a new dog and understanding the body language of dogs, and an interactive opportunity to learn how scientists conduct surveys. In addition, a baby farm animal exhibit will feature goats, rabbits, ducks and chickens, as well as discussions about caring for these animals as pets. Activities will be led by faculty, undergraduate, graduate and veterinary medical students.

“Caring for pets is a common responsibility for children,” said Dr. Gretchen K. Carlisle, a ReCHAI postdoctoral fellow. “This interactive event will provide them with knowledge to help them be successful in this task.”

Children will also learn about the important work of service dogs and therapy animals, she said.

The cost of the event is $8 per child, and adults are free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The first 100 children to register will receive T-shirts. Children who visit all the stations and complete a punch card will receive a free raffle ticket to enter to win a basket filled with summer activity items for children and pet products.

Proceeds will support travel scholarships for ReCHAI students to present research at conferences.

Only service animals will be permitted at the event.

ReCHAI was established in 2005. The center’s research has demonstrated that human-animal interaction benefits both people and companion animals by enhancing their physical and emotional well-being. Projects studying these benefits have included an animal visitation program for older adults, a study of children with autism and pet dogs, and a program that helps military veterans fight post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms by training shelter dogs.

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Last Update: February 29, 2012