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Pet Night Brings the Power of Pets to DC

By Colleen Williams
November 9, 2017 • 2 min. read
Higgins a therapy dog
Higgins a therapy dog
Higgins, a certified Pet Partners therapy animal, getting some love

Hosted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the Pet Leadership Council (PLC), Pet Night brought some much-needed levity to Capitol Hill on October 4th, while the issues were anything but fluff. HABRI and the PLC set out to deliver the message to members of Congress that pets are important for human health and the quality of life.

By inviting US representatives, industry leaders, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates and research facilitators to the event, the two organizations sought to teach the importance of pet ownership in America, as well as the growing scientific evidence that pet ownership leads to improved wellbeing for both people and animals. The event was a success: the room was packed with House members and staffers, as well as about 20 dogs, which were the highlight of the photo booth station. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance was also in attendance, as a supporter of HABRI’s continued effort to stress the importance of the human-animal bond.

“Pet Night provides the opportunity to remind our elected representatives that more than 80 million U.S. households have pets, and there is growing scientific evidence that pet ownership leads to improved health and better quality of life for both people and animals,” said Bob Vetere, PLC and HABRI chairman, while chatting with Pet Business. “Research has shown that pets support child health and development, promote healthy aging, improve heart health, and also help families dealing with cancer, autism and PTSD.”

The two big initiatives presented at Pet Night were measures to provide service dogs to veterans with post-traumatic stress and to help survivors of domestic violence find safe shelter for their pets. This bipartisan legislation is integral to HABRI’s mission, and the pet care community supports the power of the human-animal bond to heal and to help, and that they should be protected members of the family.  “We hope Members of Congress will support these important policies that will protect and save lives through the power of the human-animal bond,” Vetere said.

DC crowd pet night
The crowd at DC’s Pet Night.

Guests interacted with registered therapy animals to experience the feeling of stress relief and community that these animals bring. The PLC and HABRI gave out Pets’ Best Friend awards to members of Congress who support pet-friendly legislation, while the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill were honored by the Animal Health Institute, an initiative to recognize pets in both parties. For more information and photos, check out HABRI’s site for Pet Night. If you’d like to find out more about the causes Healthy Paws supports, check out How We Help.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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