HELENA – Research shows that shelter dogs fostered even just for an evening can reduce the level of stress in the animals.  The Carroll College anthrozoology program continued that research thanks to a recent grant.

Animal shelters continue to face a major issue; finding a way to relieve the stress in their dogs. Shelters can be noisy with a lot of activity.  With the anthrozoology program receiving $40,000 they were able to look at the effects of temporarily fostering an animal and how it can limit stress.

The grant was awarded by “Maddie’s fund”, a nonprofit group that focuses on finding homes for shelter dogs. 

This is not the first study of this kind; the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah piloted the temporary foster tests.

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Dr. Erica Feuerbacher, an assistant professor of anthrozoology program at Carroll College, said that the college has worked with animal shelters all over the U.S. to expand the program.  One of the shelters they have worked with is the Human Society of Western Montana in Missoula.

Dr. Erica Feuerbacher, an assistant professor of anthrozoology program at Carroll College

“We measured the cortisone levels of 37 dogs before they went on a sleepover, the volunteer collected urine and when they came back, we found while they were on a sleepover the level of cortisone significantly dropped,” said Feuerbacher. “I think there is a lot of room for improving how we shelter dogs, and care. I love being on sort of the cutting edge, find novel ways to make dogs live better and people who want to care for them better.”

Feuerbacher said the study relied on volunteers; she encouraged people who want to help to start volunteering for their local shelters.

The anthrozoology program, according to the Carroll website, helps students explore the human-animal bond and develop the knowledge and skills to improve lives through animal-assisted therapy, veterinary medicine, and other service occupations.