B.A.R.K. Team

John-Tyler Binfet, Founder & Director

Dr. Binfet is the founder and director of UBC’s dog therapy program titled “Building Academic Retention through K9s” or B.A.R.K. Founded in 2012, this program is housed within the Okanagan School of Education and provides social and emotional support to students, primarily around stress reduction. Currently, there are 60 therapy dog teams working on behalf of B.A.R.K. in various programs at UBC and in the surrounding community.  In addition to assessing the effects of canine-assisted interventions, Dr. Binfet’s work examines how best to screen, train, and assess therapy dogs and their handlers for work in on-campus and community programs and research.  Working with Hartwig from Texas State University, Binfet co-authored a recent book titled “Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Comprehensive Guide to Credentialing Therapy Dog Teams.”

Dr. Binfet’s research has two distinct streams: 1) Understanding students’ conceptualizations of kindness in school; and 2) the effects of Canine-Assisted Interventions on the well-being of varied participants (including children, university students, and police officers).

View Dr. Binfet’s full list of publications and presentations on education.ok.ubc.ca.

Professional Associations/Affiliations/Committees

Freya Green, Program Coordinator

Originally from Hampshire, England, Freya has been involved with B.A.R.K. since 2013. She began as an undergraduate volunteer in her first year of university – acting as a photographer, student mentor in the Building Confidence and Kindness through K9s Program and a B.A.R.K.2Go volunteer. She completed her B.A. Psychology Honours research with the B.A.R.K. program, where she explored the effects of canine-assisted interventions on social connectedness in first-year undergraduates.

In 2017, she filled the role of B.A.R.K. program coordinator and now assists with the planning, administration and implementation of on-campus and community-based B.A.R.K. programs.

Freya is an Okanagan School of Education Master of Arts in Education alumni. Her research interests include understanding the effects of canine-assisted interventions on first-responder and student well-being. Learn more about Freya and her research in this UBC In the Field Feature.

Publications

Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., & Draper, Z. A. (2021). The Importance of Client–Canine Contact in Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Anthrozoös. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2021.1944558.

Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2020). Stress reduction in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 8(2), 34-52.

Rousseau, C. X., Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., Tardif-Williams, C., Draper, Z. A., & Maynard, A. (2020). Up the leash: An investigation of handler well-being and perceptions of volunteering in canine-assisted interventions. Pet Behavior Science, 10, 15-35. https://doi.org/10.2107/pbs.vi10.12598 

Conference Presentations

Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Buffalo, NY (Virtual). University-Based Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs): Theory and Research Toward Identifying Direct and Indirect Effects of Active Components on Stress-Related Outcomes

  • Paper 1: Pendry, P. (2021, June 23). Touch Expect and Support Theory (TEST): A pathway model describing active components of University-based AAIs on proximal and distal stress-related outcomes.
  • Paper 2: Vandagriff, J. L., & Pendry, P. (2021, June 23). Teasing Out Effective AAI Components of a University-Based Animal Visitation Program on Students’ Physiological Arousal and Regulation.
  • Paper 3: Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., & Draper, Z. A. (2021, June 23). The Importance of Touch in On-Campus Canine-Assisted Stress-Reduction Interventions: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Binfet, J. T., Kjellstrand Hartwig, E., & Green, F. L. L. (2020, September). Taking off the vest:
When should a dog be Retired? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.

Green, F. L. L. & Binfet, J. T., (2020, September). Uncovering the views of law enforcement personnel who participated in a canine-assisted intervention: A case study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.

Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2019, July 4). Reducing stress in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Orlando, Florida.

Rousseau, C. X., Draper, Z. A., Binfet, J. T. Tardif-Williams, C. & Green, F. L. L. (2019, July 4). Exploring handlers’ wellbeing in an on-campus canine-assisted intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Orlando, Florida.

Student Researchers of b.a.r.k.

We greatly appreciate students’ efforts and talents in assisting with or conducting research initiatives.

Below are students who are in the process of completing, or who have completed, their honours or graduate research with the B.A.R.K. program.

Zakary is a PhD student in the department of Psychology. His research interests include: Quantitative methods and statistics; technology and wellbeing in families with young children.

Related Publications and Presentations

Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., & Draper, Z. A. (2021). The Importance of Client–Canine Contact in Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Anthrozoös. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2021.1944558.

Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2020). Stress reduction in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 8(2), 34-52.

Rousseau, C. X., Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., Tardif-Williams, C., Draper, Z. A., & Maynard, A. (2020). Up the leash: An investigation of handler well-being and perceptions of volunteering in canine-assisted interventions. Pet Behavior Science, 10, 15-35. https://doi.org/10.2107/pbs.vi10.12598 

Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Buffalo, NY (Virtual). University-Based Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs): Theory and Research Toward Identifying Direct and Indirect Effects of Active Components on Stress-Related Outcomes

  • Paper 1: Pendry, P. (2021, June 23). Touch Expect and Support Theory (TEST): A pathway model describing active components of University-based AAIs on proximal and distal stress-related outcomes.
  • Paper 2: Vandagriff, J. L., & Pendry, P. (2021, June 23). Teasing Out Effective AAI Components of a University-Based Animal Visitation Program on Students’ Physiological Arousal and Regulation.
  • Paper 3: Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., & Draper, Z. A. (2021, June 23). The Importance of Touch in On-Campus Canine-Assisted Stress-Reduction Interventions: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Binfet, J. T., Draper, Z. A., & Green, F. L. L. (2019, July 4). Reducing stress in law enforcement officers and staff through a canine-assisted intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Orlando, Florida.

Nicole received her Master of Arts in Education in 2020. Her study explored what it was like for children to participate in a social skills training program facilitated by therapy dogs.  University volunteers collected observations of the children and eight children were interviewed by the researcher.  Findings indicated that, overall, the children enjoyed the social skills training program with dogs and the therapy dogs provided unique benefits.  Interacting with the therapy dogs improved the children’s moods and increased their engagement.  It also showed evidence of the therapy dogs providing some emotional and behavioural benefits.

Learn more about Nicole and her research in this Okanagan School of Education spotlight.

Related Publications and Presentations

Harris, N. M. & Binfet, J. T. (2020) Exploring Children’s Perceptions of an After-School Canine-Assisted Social and Emotional Learning Program: A Case Study. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2020.1846643

Harris, N. M., & Binfet, J. T. (2020, September). A case study exploring children’s experience participating in a canine-assisted social-emotional learning program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.

Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Sydney, Australia. Therapy canines: Screening and assessment, safeguarding well-being, and innovative programming.

Paper 1: Hartwig, E., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). What’s important in screening therapy canines?: A review of 320 North American canine assisted programs.
Paper 2: Silas, H. J., Calibaba, B., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Safeguarding therapy canine well-being: Educating the public to recognize stress indicators in working canines.
Paper 3: McKay, C., Harris, N., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Building confidence through K9’s: A pilot program to build children’s leadership through interactions with therapy canines.

Holly-Anne was a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology, UBC, and graduated in 2019.

Related Publications and Presentations
Binfet, J. T., Passmore, H. A., Cebry, A., Struik, K., & McKay, C. (2017). Reducing university students’ stress through a drop-in canine-therapy program. Journal of Mental Health, 1-30.

Binfet, J. T. & Passmore, H. A. (2016). Hounds and homesickness: The effects of an animal-assisted therapeutic intervention for first-year university students. Anthrozoos, 29, 441-454.
Presentations

Binfet, J. T., Passmore, H. A., Cebry, A., Struik, K., & McKay, C. (2017, June 24). Reducing university students’ stress through a drop-in canine-therapy program. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Davis, California (June 22-25).

Binfet, J. T., & Passmore, H. A. (2016). Hounds and homesickness: The effects of an animal-assisted therapeutic intervention for first-year students. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Barcelona, Spain (July 9).

Camille is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. student within the Okanagan School of Education under the supervision of Dr. Binfet.

Camille completed her Master’s degree at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. where she focused on animal-assisted reading intervention for children. She is now committed to improving the school experience of children with Public Speaking Anxiety. Her research will explore the role of therapy dogs in fostering public speaking confidence and competency.

She is also a volunteer with the B.A.R.K. program.

Related Publications and Presentations

Rousseau, C. X., Binfet, J. T., Green, F. L. L., Tardif-Williams, C., Draper, Z. A., & Maynard, A. (2020). Up the leash: An investigation of handler well-being and perceptions of volunteering in canine-assisted interventions. Pet Behavior Science, 10, 15-35. doi: 10.2107/pbs.vi10.12598

Tardif-Williams, C. Y., Binfet, J.T., & Rousseau, C. X. (2019). Shifting preservice teachers’ views of animal welfare and advocacy through a human-animal relationships course. Society & Animals, 1(opa), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685306-12341640

Rousseau, C. X., Tardif-Williams, C.Y. (2019). Turning the page for Spot: The potential of therapy dogs to support reading motivation among young children. Anthrozoös. 32(5), 665-677. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2019.1645511

Rousseau, C. X. & Binfet, J. T. (2020, September). When it comes to animals, what are scholars publishing about?: A bibliometric analysis of publications across three HAI journals. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Liverpool, UK.

Rousseau, C. X., Draper, Z. A., Binfet, J. T. Tardif-Williams, C. & Green, F. L. L. (2019, July 4). Exploring handlers’ wellbeing in an on-campus canine-assisted intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Orlando, Florida.

Tardiff-Williams, C., Binfet, J. T., & Rousseau, C. (2017, October 12). Connections between preservice teachers’ conceptualizations of child-animal interactions and views about promoting humane education in the classroom. Paper presented at the 2017 Conceptualizing Children and Youth Conference, St. Catharines, Canada.

Tardiff-Williams, C., Binfet, J. T., & Rousseau, C. (2017). Fostering agents of change: Laying the foundations for professional advocacy through participation in an undergraduate course on human-animal interactions. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Davis, California (June 22-25).

Haley completed her BSc honours research with Dr. Ford (Biology) and Dr. Binfet (Education). Their research explored whether participating in sessions increased the stress of working therapy dogs in an effort to answer the question: Does the very intervention designed to reduce stress in humans, augment the stress of therapy dogs? Read their article Therapeutic for all? Observational assessments of therapy canine stress in an on-campus stress-reduction program.

Related Publications and Presentations

Silas, H. J., Binfet, J. T., & Ford, A. (2019). Therapeutic for all? Observational assessments of therapy canine stress in an on-campus stress reduction program. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 32, 6-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2019.03.009 (Publication)

Binfet, J. T., Silas, H. J., Longfellow, S. W., & Widmaier, K. (2018). When veterinarians support canine therapy: Bidirectional benefits for clinics and therapy programs. Veterinary Sciences (early online edition) doi: 10.3390/vetsci5010002

Binfet, J. T., Trotman, M. L., Henstock, H. D., & Silas, H. J. (2016). Reducing the affective filter: Using canine-assisted therapy to support international students’ English language development. BC Teaching English as an Additional Language, 1, 18-37.

Silas, H. J., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Therapeutic for all? Observational assessments of therapy canine stress during sessions. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Sydney, Australia.

Symposium at the annual meeting of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Sydney, Australia. Therapy canines: Screening and assessment, safeguarding well-being, and innovative programming.

Paper 1: Hartwig, E., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). What’s important in screening therapy canines?: A review of 320 North American canine assisted programs.
Paper 2: Silas, H. J., Calibaba, B., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Safeguarding therapy canine well-being: Educating the public to recognize stress indicators in working canines.
Paper 3: McKay, C., Harris, N., & Binfet, J. T. (2018, July 4). Building confidence through K9’s: A pilot program to build children’s leadership through interactions with therapy canines.

Kathryn completed her M.A in Education under the supervision of Dr. Binfet in 2016. Her research focussed on exploring the role of companion canines for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Read her thesis.

Related Publications and Presentations

Binfet, J. T. & Struik, K. (2018). Dogs on campus: Holistic assessment of therapy dogs and handlers for research and community initiatives. Society & Animals, 1-30.

Binfet, J. T., Passmore, H. A., Cebry, A., Struik, K., & McKay, C. (2017). Reducing university students’ stress through a drop-in canine-therapy program. Journal of Mental Health, 1-30.

Struik, K. & Binfet, J.T.  (2017) Child-canine bonding in children with ASD: Findings within and across case studies. Animalia, 1-30

Binfet, J. T., Passmore, H. A., Cebry, A., Struik, K., & McKay, C. (2017, June 24). Reducing university students’ stress through a drop-in canine-therapy program. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Davis, California (June 22-25).

Struik, K., & Binfet, J. T. (2016, July 8). Canine-child bonding in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Findings within and across case studies. Poster presented at the annual conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, Barcelona, Spain.

Megan Trotman graduated with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in 2016 and a Master of Science in 2020 both from UBC Okanagan.

Related Publications and Presentations

Binfet, J. T., Trotman, M. L., Henstock, H. D., & Silas, H. J. (2016). Reducing the affective filter: Using canine-assisted therapy to support international students’ English language development. BC Teaching English as an Additional Language1, 18-37.

Trotman, M., & Binfet, J. T. (2016). Reducing the affective filter: Using canine-assisted therapy to support international students’ English language development. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, Paris, France (July 13).