chapter  19
14 Pages

The Child–Pet Bond

A number of studies have illustrated the positive role that pets can play with special populations. Programs have been developed that place pets with the elderly (Garrity et al., 1989), the handicapped (Frith, 1982; Ross, 1983), psychiatric inpatients (Holcomb and Mea¬ cham, 1989), prison inmates (Katcher, Beck, and Levine, 1989), and children with special needs (Gonski, 1985; Redefer and Goodman, 1989). Absent, however, is a theoretical explication of why humanpet relationships consistently have been found to have positive psychological effects; in particular, “there is very little analysis of the role of pets in child development” (Robin & ten Bensel, 1985, p. 63).