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Sharon Granskog
Phone: 847-285-6619
Cell: 847-280-1273



 Veterinary behaviorist honored for enhancing human-animal bond

​Dr. Melissa Bain has devoted her career as a veterinarian to enhancing the human-animal bond through research on companion animal behavior problems, enrichment of shelter animals and the effects of different training methods on dog behavior.

In recognition of her efforts, Dr. Bain received the 2016 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award during the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Veterinary Leadership Conference on Thursday, January 7, in Chicago.

L to R: AVMA CEO Dr. Ron DeHaven, 2016 Bustad Award winner Dr. Melissa Bain, and AVMF Board Chair Dr. John Brooks

“I love nurturing the relationships between people and their pets,” said Dr. Bain. “Understanding an owner’s struggles when faced with their pet’s behavior issues and helping them find a way to live a happier, healthier life together is extremely gratifying. It is heartbreaking to see a well-loved pet euthanized or relinquished to a shelter due to behavior issues.”

The award is cosponsored by the AVMA, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) and Pet Partners. Named in honor of the late Leo K. Bustad, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of human-animal interactions, the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding work of veterinarians in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships.

Dr. Bain was nominated by human-animal bond pioneer, colleague, mentor and previous Bustad Companion Animal Award winner Dr. Benjamin L. Hart, distinguished Professor emeritus at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Dr. Bain is an unquestionable leader in integrating the essence of the field of human-animal interactions—in all its ramifications—with veterinary clinical behavior, animal welfare and the mental health of veterinarians,” said Dr. Hart. “I personally knew Leo Bustad for a couple decades, and in my mind, Dr. Bain’s approach and activities exemplify the dedication of Leo K. Bustad and goals of this award.”

While serving her residency in clinical behavior under Dr. Hart’s mentorship, Dr. Bain was particularly attuned to the importance of the strong attachment and interaction between her clients and patients. She believed that the field of clinical animal behavior was the closest recognized specialty in veterinary medicine that she could pursue relating to clinical medicine and the human-animal bond.

“Humbled and honored,” said Dr. Bain. “That is truly how I felt to have been nominated for this award. And to have been nominated by Dr. Hart was truly amazing.”

Dr. Bain is board-certified in both veterinary behavior and animal welfare and currently serves as the chief of service of the Clinical Behavior Service at the University of California–Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Bain is also past president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. She currently serves as the director of professional student clinical education at UC-Davis.

After earning her DVM degree from the University of Illinois in 1994, Dr. Bain worked in both small-animal exclusive and mixed-animal private practice in the mid-1990s. She entered the Clinical Veterinary Behavior Residency Program at UC-Davis in 1998. She became board-certified in veterinary behavior in 2001, and completed a master’s degree in advanced clinical research from the UC-Davis School of Medicine in 2007. In 2014 she became board-certified by the American College of Animal Welfare.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, contact Sharon Granskog, AVMA assistant director, media relations, at 847-285-6619 (office), 847-280-1273 (cell), or

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