Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine | 3800 Spruce St. Phildelphia, PA 19106 | Phone: 215.898.5438

CIAS Projects

Animal Art Adventure Camp

The CIAS, in partnership with the University City Arts League, created a 10-day summer camp, for children ages 6-10, that featured a new animal-themed topic each day. During the course of the camp, participating students learned about animal welfare, careers in veterinary medicine, sea and wildlife, farm animals, insects, birds, reptiles, and dogs with jobs. Presentations were delivered by local experts on these topics, and included individuals from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, ASPCA, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, The Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Philadelphia Police Department. In addition, complementary art projects were completed each day with instruction provided by the faculty of the University City Arts League. This program was made possible through funding provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Banfield Charitable Trust.

The camp will be on hiatus for 2008, but may be offered again in 2009.

Shelter Animal Medicine Program

In April 2006, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine launched its new Shelter Animal Medicine Program in which senior veterinary students will participate for the first time in a surgery rotation on-site at Philadelphia's municipal animal shelter, the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA). In addition, Dr. Michael Moyer, VMD, has been recruited as the School’s first Director of Shelter Animal Medicine, and a Shelter Animal Medicine course has been added to the School’s core curriculum. This cooperative program with PACCA, the Vet School's Department of Surgery, and the CIAS will ensure that students also experience and learn about other shelter issues and topics, including homeless animal management, the role of the veterinarian in an animal shelter, pet animal overpopulation, infectious disease control, behavior problems and evaluations, and animal cruelty, neglect and hoarding. For more information on this exciting new initiative, please visit the web site of the Shelter Animal Medicine Program. Funding for this vital new initiative has been provided by the the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), PetSmart Charities, and a private donor.

Veterinary Grief Counseling

The Veterinary Grief Counseling Program at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was created to address the emotional needs of pet owners who have lost a companion animal. This was one of the first programs of its kind in a veterinary hospital setting. The Veterinary Grief Counseling Program recognizes and embraces the significance and difficulties associated with pet loss. By promoting education about the human-animal bond, grief, and bereavement, the Veterinary Grief Counseling Program strives to improve coping and adjustment for those who have a lost a beloved companion animal.The Veterinary Grief Counseling Program also provides support services to those with chronically ill animals, animals with behavior issues, community humane education as well as education within the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the surrounding community. The Veterinary Grief Counseling Program also engages in scholarly research in conjuction with the CIAS.

Vet Pet Visitation Program at the Ronald McDonald House

Coordinated by Michele Pich, Grief Counselor, the student run Vet Pet Program at the Ronald McDonald House is an animal visitation program designed to lift the spirits of the children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. One evening per week, Penn Vet students and staff visit with their pets, providing children and their families with an opportunity for fun, laughter, and relaxation at a time when their days are often filled with medical procedures.

Kids Caring for Pets

Kids Caring for Pets is an educational program developed by veterinary students and professionals from the fields of veterinary medicine and social work. The program teaches children about the responsibilities of adopting and caring for pets. Since its inception in 2002, this program has educated more than 600 children.

Therapy Dog Certification

In October 2003, the CIAS initiated a program, whereby, an evaluator from Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI) - a respected organization in the field of therapy dog certification - visits the School of Veterinary Medicine to provide both TDI and AKC Canine Good Citizen certification services to interested parties. The CIAS coordinates certification sessions twice per year, to coincide with the start of the fall and spring semesters. The aim of the program is to provide certified handler/dog teams that will be able to visit nursing homes, schools, hospital, hospices, rehabilitation centers, and other facilities and organizations that believe in the power of the human/animal bond to educate, lift spirits, and aid in the healing process. To date, the program has evaluated and certified more than 100 handler-dog teams.