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Sky High Puppies

Thursday, 05th May 2011

A researcher form the University of Western Sydney is call on dog owners who live in high-rise apartments in Sydney to participate in a study to find out how humans and animals coexist in city environments.

Dr Emma Power, from the UWS School of Social Sciences, says dogs are found in more than 40 per cent of Australian households and are associated with numerable social and health benefits.

"At the community level, dogs in particular can facilitate positive social interactions between neighbours and can enhance their owners' sense of the friendliness of their suburb," say Dr Power.

"At an individual level, pet ownership is believed to make people healthier and happier and is linked to lower rates of heart disease, blood pressure disorders and childhood obesity."

Throughout Sydney, planners are increasingly looking to high-rise living to provide a solution to our growing population.  Dr Power says that the consideration of how pets can be incorporated into high density housing is an essential component of the sustainability of the development.

"Dogs are banned from living in many apartments throughout Australia, due to the conflicts that can arise with animals being in close poximity to neighbours and due to the limited open space that is available," she says.

"However, many developers are beginning to recognise the value of human - animal cohabitation and are incorporating dog-friendly designs into their projects, which may open the doors for pets to take pride of place in high-rise homes."

Dr Power's study will examine the place of dogs in high-rise apartments and how the design and layout of complexes can impact on the relationships between dogs, their owners, and the other residents.

Dog owners aged 18 years and over who live in high-rise apartment complexes in the wider Sydney area are invited to take part in the study.

Participants will also be asked to complete a photographic diary that identifies locations and events that are significant in their interactions with their dog both in and around the apartment building.

In appreciation of their efforts, the participants will receive a $25 gift voucher.

The research has been approved by UWS Human Research Ethics Committee: To register your interest in taking part, contact Dr Power on [email protected]

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