Support Human Animal Bond, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Support Human Animal Bond

Dog in bedCARE Pet Loss Helpline: The Companion Animal Related Emotions (CARE) Pet Loss Helpline is a confidential telephone service offered through the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. People who are either grieving the loss of a companion animal or are anticipating a loss are encouraged to call. The Helpline provides owners with specific information on grieving, euthanasia, children and pet loss, and meaningful ways to memorialize their beloved animal friend. CARE Pet Loss Helpline is staffed by veterinary students who understand the importance of the human-animal bond and the emotions involved when that bond is threatened or altered. The students receive training and ongoing supervision from a licensed social worker.

A Pet's Place: A Pet’s Place is a “safe-haven” program founded by students and faculty in the College in 2002. Few domestic violence shelters accept pets and as a result victims of domestic abuse are forced to leave their animals behind in potentially life threatening situations. A Pet’s Place works to preserve the human-animal bond that is vulnerable during situations of domestic violence and minimize the stress that is put on the owner and the pet when that bond is threatened. This program partners with two area domestic violence shelters to provide no-cost housing and medical care for the pets of women living at the shelter.

Woman holds dogVeterinary Student Outreach Program: The Veterinary Student Outreach Program (VSOP) consists of a group of veterinary students who are committed to educating the public about the human-animal bond, as well as the basic animal care necessary to maintain that bond. Some of their programs are geared toward younger audiences and focus on topics such as: dog care and responsible pet ownership, dog bite prevention, etc.  They also offer programs for undergraduate students, alumni, etc that concentrate on certain aspects of veterinary medicine such as: the science of medicine and the biology of wound healing.

Omega Tau Sigma nursing home visitation program: Omega Tau Sigma, Theta Chapter, is a professional organization of veterinary students at the University of Illinois. They strive to strengthen the community's love of animals through community service work.  This organization works to strengthen the human-animal bond through their monthly pet visitations at local nursing homes.  Each month members bring their pets to local nursing homes to spend time with nursing home residents and enable these residents to experience the mental and physical health benefits of the human-animal bond. Additionally, this organization is involved in an outreach program with local Boy Scout troops to help teach children at a young age the importance of veterinary medicine and humane care.

Shelter medicine/CCHS/Anti-Cruelty Society rotations: Partnering with Chicago's Animal Care and Control, The AntiCruelty Society of Chicago, and the Champaign County Humane Society, this course will provide a truly unique community veterinary practice program for the low income populations of Chicago and Champaign County. Clinical rotations at these facilities will expose veterinary students to community practice through a low income clinic and shelter setting and explore new ways of improving animal health and welfare, alleviating animal suffering, abuse and abandonment, and protecting public health.

Yorkshire terrierOwner education talks at Anti-Cruelty Society: The Anti-Cruelty Society is a Chicago-based organization that exists to prevent cruelty to animals and to advance humane education. Since 2003, faculty experts from the teaching hospital have also shared their knowledge with appreciative audiences at the Anti-Cruelty Society through public education programs. Talks have ranged from rehabilitation techniques for pets recovering from surgery to dental health issues to advances in cardiology and cancer care for animals.

Pet columns: These weekly articles for pet owners focus on pet health issues, including updates on cutting-edge research and medical treatments and advice on pet behavior and care. The columns feature the expertise of Veterinary Teaching Hospital clinicians, faculty and staff, and are featured in newspapers, magazines and pet-related web sites across the United States and at

Animal Behavior seminar: This unique seminar is designed to examine the evolving roles of veterinarians, trainers and shelters in the field of companion animal behavior and to examine ways in which these professions can work together in communities. The seminar is designed to unite veterinarians, trainers and shelters in their common goal of providing quality behavior and training support to pet owners.

Domestic Violence education : A seminar entitled Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse: The Cruel Connection was held in 2004 for veterinarians, law enforcement officers, and domestic violence and social workers. The conference addressed topics of intentional abuse, the perspective of an animal investigation officer, laws against animal violence, and how veterinarians can help in situations of suspected animal or domestic violence. By working together, veterinarians, social workers and law enforcement can combat the problems of animal abuse and domestic violence.

Humane Connection: The Humane Connection Fund makes it possible for clinicians at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to go the extra mile in treatment of animal companions in order to benefit both patients and their owners who may have limited means.

Companion Animal Memorial Fund: The Companion Animal Memorial Fund, established in 1984, allows veterinarians and others to express their compassion for grieving animal owners by making donations in memory of their pet. Contributions totaling over $775,000 have supported noninvasive projects at the College to improve companion animal health as well as provided funds for the cancer unit, for training veterinary dentists, and for our free, nationwide CARE Pet Loss Helpline.