Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

March 2023

Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Major Advisor

Shelly Volsche, Ph.D.


Kristin Snopkowski, Ph.D.


Jessica Wells, Ph.D.


This study aims to examine if and how the personal and professional lives of K9-handling officers and their police department are impacted by having access to and working alongside K9s. It also considers the possible variation in degrees of attachment to one’s dog between K9-handling officers and members of the general public. Through an online survey, questions from the Perceived Stress Scale and the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale were asked to better understand how working alongside dogs can change levels of stress. It was found that K9-handling officers experience significantly lower levels of stress compared to non-K9-handling officers. Further, it was also found that K9-handling officers experience significantly higher levels of attachment and general connection to their K9 partner compared to members of the public with their companion dogs. Overall, this study suggests that dogs can have a major positive impact on their human partners in typically high-stress work environments, and not just in companionship situations. However, since research in this area is highly limited, more work should be done looking at the positive impacts of dogs on people working in high-stress, niche work environments, such as law enforcement and military. Additionally, more work should be done to examine how working dogs are able to help the well-being of their human partner when both on and off work.


Included in

Anthropology Commons