ICAN Founder Speaks about Healing Role of Assistance Dogs at Public Lecture
“What prisoner’s dogs and people with disabilities tell us about the healing role of assistance dogs” is the topic of a public lecture at Purdue University Tuesday evening, September 18, featuring the founder of ICAN – the Indiana Canine Assistant Network. Dr. Sally Irvin will give the Elanco Human-Animal Bond Lecture, which is held in conjunction with the annual Purdue Veterinary Conference hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine. The lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. in Fowler Hall in Stewart Center and is free and open to the public.
Dr. Irvin has a PhD in psychology and founded ICAN in 2001 with the desire to use dogs as a conduit to help rehabilitate incarcerated adults and provide independence to people with disabilities. She served as Executive Director until August 2013 when she stepped down to pursue another of her passions – teaching at the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University. Dr. Irvin also serves on the international board and North American board of Assistance Dogs International where she focuses on veteran affairs, access, and advocacy for service dogs throughout the world.
In her talk, Dr. Irvin will explain the importance of understanding the nature of the relationship between humans and their assistance dogs, the behaviors that promote healthy growth and the behaviors that increase stress. She emphasizes that, while assistance dogs provide incredible benefits to their human partners, the relationship is interdependent, and the assistance dog is not there by its own choice. Therefore, humans have a responsibility to ensure that the bond is truly mutually beneficial.
Dr. Irvin will be introduced by Dr. Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond and Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, who also will serve as the session moderator. The lecture is sponsored by Elanco. A light reception will follow in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery.
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