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The human–animal bond with laboratory animals

Lab Animal volume 38, pages 132136 (2009) | Download Citation



In the author's experience, a bond—whether intentional or not—is often established between humans and animal research subjects. Behavioral theorists suggest that human–animal relationships can take several different forms. The author discusses several occasions in which she perceived one type of relationship with a research animal and was later surprised when the animal's behavior suggested that the bond was actually of a different nature. In the author's opinion, laboratory staff should be aware of the potential of bonding and should work to ensure that the desired human–animal relationships are developed. This may enhance the well-being of animals and staff and improve research efficacy.

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Author information


  1. Department of Psychology, Bethany College, 335 East Swensson Street, Lindsborg, KS 67456.

    • Melissa R. Shyan-Norwalt
  2. Companion Animal Problem Solvers, Inc., 11571 West US Highway 40, Cambridge City, IN 47327.

    • Melissa R. Shyan-Norwalt


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Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Melissa R. Shyan-Norwalt.

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