Schaffer honored with Bustad Award

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Dr. Caroline Schaffer with Jettabelle
Dr. Caroline Schaffer with Jettabelle

The AVMA, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc have selected Dr. Caroline Schaffer as the recipient of the 2000 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award. Dr. Schaffer received the award Oct 12 during the Tufts Animal EXPO 2000 in Boston.

The founder and director of the Center for the Study of Human-Animal Interdependent Relationships at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University has spent her 30-year career studying the relationship between humans and animals. One of Dr. Schaffer's most notable accomplishments is educating people living with HIV/AIDS how immunocompromised owners can safely care for their pets.

The Bustad Award is named for the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, former president of the Delta Society and dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In honor of its namesake, the award is given annually for outstanding work promoting the human-animal bond.

Dr. Schaffer has participated in numerous professional organizations, such as the AVMA, Alabama VMA, Ohio VMA, Delta Society, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. She is immediate past president of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians and a member of the board of directors of People, Animals, Nature Inc.

To assist people taking their therapy pets to nursing homes, Dr. Schaffer and her veterinary students at Tuskegee University produced a videotape demonstrating how to determine whether an animal wants to be hugged by strangers, by interpreting the animal's body language.

Dr. Schaffer co-authored the brochure "HIV/AIDS and Pet Ownership," which advises immunocompromised people about their pet ownership options. Her goal is to help people understand that having a disease such as AIDS does not mean a person cannot keep and properly care for a pet. By widely distributing her brochure to veterinarians, public health workers, and physicians, she's teaching safe pet selection and ownership for immunocompromised people.

"Dr. Schaffer's work with AIDS patients highlights the importance of the human animal bond," Dr. James E. Nave, AVMA president, said. "Many of these patients have only their pets and the love that they provide. Her work highlights the best that our profession can offer to both humans and animals."