If you’ve wondered how you can help to grow Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice in Animal-Assisted Therapy—this episode with Mel is for you.

In this 60th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, Mel Trueblood-Stimpson, a Scientist, Consultant, Charity Director and Certified Animal-Assisted Therapy professional in Ohio, who is currently in the field of Neuroethology and focuses on decolonization work in STEM in addition to working with their therapy partner Bowie, a Norwegian Forest cat mix.

For Mel, entering the field of Animal-Assisted Therapy as Romani Indigenous brought harm; curiosity about the absence of marginalized and disenfranchised groups, who often have a strong connection with animals; and a sense of purpose to make an impact in this space. Their own personal goal is to increase representation amongst researchers in Animal-Assisted Therapy so that research is conducted by people of the same marginalized groups featured in the study. Along the way, Mel founded Ludar Animal Behavior, now the LAB collective, where they collectively focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice—or DEIJ—in the animal behavior space.

If you’re from the BIPOC community, Mel advises to find your support system from entering this field. Otherwise, their advice is to really examine your own biases so that we create more space and do less harm while working and volunteering with our animal partners who are capable of bridging gaps we cannot cross alone.

If you’re ready to learn more about Mel’s work, let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How working with the unhoused led Mel to Animal-Assisted Therapy.
  • Why Mel got involved in training and education for Animal-Assisted Social Work.
  • What we can do to address our own biases and awareness.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!

Mentioned in this episode:

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Therapy Dog Talk is a podcast where I interview a different team each week via Instagram Live. If you enjoyed this episode please find us over at Apple, Google, or Spotify and give us a follow after you leave a review.

Do you know someone who would make a great guest? Be sure to reach out and let me know.


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