The human-animal-nature bond

The psychological bond between humans and animals appears to have important health consequences. Research has indicated that pet ownership can be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health problems. Contact with nature also appears to have positive health effects.

The strength of the human-animal bond can be seen in people who refuse to leave pets behind when being evacuated during a natural disaster and in people facing homelessness who decide to keep their pets with them at all times.  

Better understanding of the human-animal bond can help facilitate efforts to improve the health of people and animals.

Our research includes:

People experiencing homelessness with pets project

With support from the UW Population Health Initiative, COHR is carrying out qualitative and survey research with youth and adults experiencing homelessness with animals in Seattle. The research explores the health aspects of the human-animal bond for these individuals and how pet ownership affects access to medical services and housing.

See Everything to Me, a documentary storytelling project by COHR Research Coordinator Gemina Garland-Lewis’ about the strong connections between people who are homeless and their animals.


Woman with dog in lap
Photo by Gemina Garland-Lewis