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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Human-Animal Connection from a Veterinary Social Worker’s Perspective

Elizabeth Strand, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Veterinary Social Work ServicesCollege of Social Work

The connection between people and animals is varied and diverse. Species, cultures, breeds, ethnicities, and faith traditions all intermingle and coalesce to create these complex human-animal ties. One thing is common among all these connections, however- the intensity of emotion and strength of opinion that is aroused in response to them. Human beings are invested in how people interact with animals. The love between pet parents and their animal companions as well as the violence toward abused animals stir people deeply. The sincere division between dedicated hunters and those who wear only Naugahyde arouses conflict and “positions” on either side of a fence. Without a “right” or “wrong” agenda, this talk guides viewers through the sights, stories, and science to explore the human animal connection from a social work (strengths-based) and mindfulness (present-moment) perspective.​

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