Animals have repeatedly proven their worth as both best friends and hard workers. Many dog lovers will readily detail the positive effect their pet relationship has on many aspects of their life, but unfortunately pet ownership is not an option for many older people for a range of reasons. On the other hand, there are many dogs in need of training, care and affection, with the RSPCA lacking weekday volunteers. By bringing the positive effects of animals to a vulnerable group of older adults, the RSPCA Happy Paws, Happy Hearts (HPHH) program aims to both increase their number of volunteers, as well as improve the lives of older adults and the animals involved. But you don’t need to be an RSPCA volunteer to help in the current research, which could show these benefits.

The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between animals and wellbeing, as well as test the HPHH program’s efficacy, and barriers to participation. While we have already been working closely with the RSPCA speaking to their volunteers, we need help from everyday folks who may not volunteer, like yourself, to find out more about the general wellbeing effects of owning (or not owning) pets. In particular, whether owning a pet has any effect on your wellbeing, how you feel about getting older and whether this is affected by your attitudes towards animals. By comparing this information to the same measures of people who volunteer, it may not only give insight into potentially positive effects of animals overall, but could indicate a suitable proxy for those who are unable to own a pet. For vulnerable older people, such as those living in aged care facilities, this could be key in encouraging the development of similar programs. Increasing avenues for improving lives is a powerful thing, particularly when it can provide joy to people and animals alike. 

What’s Involved:

Completing an online survey with a number of measures and demographic information. Your provided data will remain anonymous.


Approximately 20 minutes. 

If you are interested in participating, please use the following link:

For more information, please email Amanda at:

Your participation is greatly appreciated.