Gone to the Dogs rehabilitation symposium showcased findings on role of canines in therapy

Workshop hosted by the Department of Occupational Therapy featured presentations on the relationship between dogs and human wellness

Amanda McCarthy - 29 April 2019

On Friday, April 26, the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine welcomed over 100 participants (including some with fur) to Corbett Hall for the first-ever 'Gone to the Dogs' symposium.

The workshop was created as a way for researchers to share findings and establish an inter-professional network to study the role of dogs in the well-being and social engagement of people with physical and social vulnerabilities.

Presentations from speakers across several disciplines, including those from Alberta and Saskatchewan, touched on the relationship between canine and human wellness, and yes, their findings showed that our furry friends can make a positive impact on our physical, mental and social abilities!

Guest speakers for the day included:

  • Keynote speaker Colleen Dell, PhD, professor, Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health and Wellness, University of Saskatchewan, Department of Sociology and School of Public Health
  • Nancy Goebel, Augustana Campus Library
  • Kara Blizzard, Augustana Campus Library
  • Mark Fulton, Augustana Campus Library
  • Michelle Aberant, president, Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta
  • Robert Losey, PhD, associate professor, Faculty of Arts, Department of Anthropology
  • Connie Varnhagen, professor, Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences; Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science
  • Eloise Carr, RN, PhD, professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary
  • Jean Wallace, PhD, professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary
  • Pamela Caption, facilitator, Lending Emotional Pain and Support (LEAPS) and member, Chronic Pain Society of Alberta
  • Teresa Paslawski, PhD, associate dean, School of Rehabilitation Science, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
  • Stephanie Belland, MacEwan University
  • Judy Moench, PhD, Psychology Services Ltd. and adjunct professor, University of Alberta
  • Erica Olson, paramedic and Psychological Awareness & Wellness Support (PAWS) program coordinator, Alberta Health Services
  • Cary Brown, PhD, professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
  • Yuluan Wang, MSc, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta