Keynote Speech by American Humane Association President Details Efforts in Helping Children with Cancer, Veterans and Military Dogs

Robin with white dogDr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization, which for 138 years has led the way in protecting children, pets, and farm animals, is the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Lutheran Church Charities K-9/Kare-9 National Conference at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. Her address, “The Healing Power of the Humane Bond,” will detail innovative efforts being made by American Humane Association to help children with cancer, veterans and the nation’s military war dogs.

Dr. Ganzert will outline the organization’s work to create the first scientific effort documenting the beneficial effects of animal-assisted therapy in helping children with cancer and their families. While studies have suggested the benefits of AAT, the majority of these findings have largely been anecdotal and have lacked scientific rigor, thus hindering the ability of AAT to be recognized by those in the research, funding and healthcare fields as a sound treatment option.

To help address this, American Humane Association launched the Canines and Childhood Cancer (CCC) Study to rigorously measure the positive effects of AAT on children with cancer, their parents/guardians, and the therapy dogs who visit them. To see a short video about the study and the real-life impacts therapy animals can make, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QybLUoRnpgI.

Dr. Ganzert also discussed American Humane Association’s work in helping our nation’s two-legged and four-legged veterans. Many people are unaware that after lifetimes of service during which they save the lives of an estimated 150-200 servicemen and women, not all of our valiant military war dogs come home to a safe and secure retirement in the United States. Despite the fine efforts of the military, especially the U.S. Air Force, many have been returned, but too many were left overseas, separated from their handlers, the “battle buddies” to whom they were closest. Over the past year, American Humane Association has privately funded the transportation home of 21 military working dogs and contract working dogs and helped reunite them with their former human handlers. In July, American Humane Association held a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to shed light on the need to bring home all our veterans and press for long-overdue changes to the law.
In June of this year American Humane Association secured a major victory for military dogs and their handlers with the bipartisan passage of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act including language supported by American Humane Association mandating that our heroic military working dogs will be returned to U.S. soil upon retirement, and that their human handlers and their families be given first right of adoption. In this way, the dogs may receive the heroes’ welcome and retirement they deserve while they continue to save lives as they help America’s soldiers heal from Post-Traumatic Stress. The legislation is soon expected to arrive on President Obama’s desk for signature.

Dr. Ganzert will also discuss the success of the rescue and certification programs run by American Humane Association that save thousands of animals each year, ensure the welfare of more than one billion farm animals, and protect some 100,000 animal actors on television and movie production each year.

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the organization’s well-known “No Animals Were Harmed®” program, which has kept millions of America’s favorite stars safe, from Rin Tin Tin to Flipper to the star of the new war dog movie “Max,” Dr. Ganzert will sign copies of her new book, “Animal Stars.” The book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the world of entertainment where our favorite animal actors – and their famous human co-stars – bring stories to life on the silver screen, and offers an in-depth look at how American Humane Association and animal trainers work to make sure our furred, finned, scaled and winged stars are kept safe and are well-treated.

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