Companion animals play an important role in many human's lives, including many Australian social workers and clients. Yet Australian social work has been slow to address the burgeoning area of human-animal studies. In this embryonic research, we focus on women's close relationships with companion animals and some of the broad implications this has for social work practice. We analyze some of the themes expressed by women who participated in three focus groups we conducted: two on a university campus and another in a community welfare agency setting. We also examine how the women interacted with each other as they spoke of "their pets," as these dynamics point to a potentially important source of inspiration and energy that social workers may wish to harness in their day-to-day work with women.
- Australian social work
- companion animals
- respect for cross-species relationships