Potter Presents Research on Dog Walking and Health at Gerontological Society Meeting

UMass Amherst faculty members Katie Potter and Raeann LeBlanc

From left: Katie Potter and Raeann LeBlanc

November 14, 2019

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Katie Potter and Clinical Assistant Professor Raeann LeBlanc, College of Nursing, will present their research as part of a human-animal interaction symposium at the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting, in Austin, Texas from Nov. 13 through 17.

In the symposium, entitled “Pets in Older Adults’ Social Networks: Human-Animal Interaction, Interpersonal Connections, and Healthy Aging,” Potter will discuss a growing body of evidence for the positive impact of dog walking on older adults’ physical health. Her talk provides evidence for the positive impact of dog walking with neighbors. LeBlanc will present qualitative evidence for how pets fit into older adults’ social networks and quantitative evidence for the impact of animal and interpersonal companionship on overall and functional health.

Potter and LeBlanc are currently working together on Project Rover, a pilot research study Potter is leading exploring the impact of dog training classes on the walking habits of people at least 60 years of age and older. Learn more about Project Rover in this video.