Aubrey Fine, a professor in the College of Education & Integrative Studies, was lauded for the breadth, depth and quality of his human-animal interaction work at an international conference.
Fine was awarded the 2016 William F. McCulloch Award for Excellence in Human-Animal Interaction Education and/or Practice by the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations.
The association represents more than 80 human-animal interaction organizations worldwide and presents the award once every three years. Fine traveled to Paris in July to accept the award and give a keynote address.
“It’s overwhelming when you get accolades and recognition from your peers,” he says.
His presentation at the conference, titled “Connecting the Dots Backwards,” detailed his journey in the field of human-animal interaction.
“When you look back on your life and how you envisioned it, sometimes you can only connect the dots backwards to understand your future rather than the other way around,” he says. “I connected the dots from being a person who never had an animal and was afraid of dogs to being one of the people who started this movement of studying the use of animals therapeutically.”
Fine is one of the leading researchers and practitioners in animal assisted interventions and has written multiple books on the subject. In addition to teaching, he continues to actively stay involved clinically with his co-therapy animals. His “Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy” published by Academic Press is now in its fourth edition and is used at veterinary schools and universities across the United States and Europe.
“Science is now confirming what many people have known for centuries—that our interactions with animals are good for our well-being,” Fine says. “My hope is to continue to uplift people’s impression about animals’ and the importance of our relationships with them.”