Aug 21

Introducing Animalia: An Anthrozoology Journal

Cyndi Haist, class of 2013, taken by Kelsi Nagy, class of 2013


One of the things that occurred to me just after starting the Anthrozoology MS program at Canisius was that I wanted to hear, on a scholarly level, what my classmates had to say. Each individual came to the program with a different background, and even if we tended to mostly agree on some topics, little differences crept up in our opinions and how we arrived at them. On other topics, we diverged quite radically. The well of interests and knowledge was so deep. I wanted to create a journal so that we could share our work with each other. The original concept was to showcase work from Canisius students, but evolved to the idea of anthrozoology scholars at large. A small group of my classmates and I finally launched our first group of articles online in June. I’d like to invite you to visit Animalia: An Anthrozoology Journal.



Photo by Kelsi Nagy, class of 2013

As I designed the journal’s website, I wanted to ignite thought about the multitude of ways that humans consider, relate to, and use non-humans. The header at the top of the page will load a different image each time it is visited. You will see, among others, animals used for food, military operations, and entertainment; liminal animals, or those who live on the edges of human society; wildlife, animals so far from our experience that we stand in awe and hunger for knowledge of them; symbolic animals, such as the bald eagle, whose strength Americans have come to imagine as their own; and, of course, the domestic pets who occupy our homes and our hearts. Please do not mistake any single picture’s inclusion for endorsement, nor for disapproval of the activities within. Instead, they are meant to evoke interest, to spark conversation, to encourage reflection on the obvious and not-so-obvious ways we interact with non-humans on a regular basis. While images can do all of the above, it is the rigorous scholarship within these published articles that undertakes these charges with the force of critical thought and the difficult questions that such thought requires.

Much as Animalia has undergone several iterations, so too I have found myself in continual metamorphosis as I progressed through my time at Canisius and beyond. Practices and viewpoints that I have taken for granted my entire life are constantly questioned, revised, rejected, strengthened, and everything in between. I hope you find yourself similarly challenged as you peruse Animalia. 

Jul 28

As it comes to an end.

As I am writing this, it is my second to last day of the Canisius 4 Kids summer camp.  The week flew by!

After about 2 weeks of planning it was finally time to put our unit into motion.  I really think the first 4 days went great!  Our theme was animals, specifically habitats.  The first day we introduced habitats and talked about the different ones that we see.  The kids enjoyed that day for sure. Tuesday we talked about ocean animals and the ocean habitat.  One of our professors has a life size fin whale that you can sit inside!  So we blew it up and took the kids in there.  They absolutely loved it!!!! We read a book and talked about how whales eat.  We also made jellyfish, which turned out really well!  On Wednesday we talked about rainforests.  The one thing the kids really liked was making rain sticks.  They enjoyed decorating the stick and adding the ingredients needed to make it sound like rain.

My favorite day was Thursday.  We took the kids to the zoo!  The kids were amazed with the different animals we saw.  From giraffes to zebras, the kids loved seeing every animal.  We walked through the zoo, and took a long time in the rainforest falls.  It was a beautiful view and the kids were thrilled to see the turtles and colorful birds!

Tomorrow, we are planning on learning a little bit about the tundra and then create an animal all their own.  We are hoping that talking about different animals will help kids really think creatively about what they would want to create in an animal.

With this camp being just about over, I now move on to think about the final paper I will write for this class, as well as my college career.  I can’t believe how quickly this year flew by.  Last August I was beginning the journey for my masters degree and now I am here, ready to be done.  This program has been amazing.  I have learned so many new strategies and ideas to implement in my own classroom!  I hope that if you are reading this you really consider doing this program.  It’s worth the work, and worth the summer classes.  Good luck!!!!! -Melissa

Jul 23

Whoa, We’re Half Way There

So, summer classes are in full force.  With three classes you can imagine the work load.



The classes that I am taking in relation to the program are going great.  My group and I have just submitted the draft of our unit.  We are doing a theme of animals with K-2 grade students.  We have so many great events planned like taking campers to the zoo, making a jellyfish, as well as creating their own animal.  It has been so much work to put together this unit, but as we see it coming together, we are really excited for camp to begin next week.

With the camp, we are given a classroom in Old Main to call our headquarters.  We get to decorate it on Friday and I am excited for that.  We want the kids to make a paper mural on the wall, and just give it a fun touch to it.  With 9 kiddos coming in next week, I want the classroom to look great and be something the kids love going to.  However, as much as I am excited for the classroom, I am really hoping it is nice out so we can do some activities outside! After all, it is summer.

The other half of this class is the research paper portion of it.  In years past it has been a group paper, but things have changed a little.  I won’t get too much into it because it’ll be confusing and won’t make sense, but we essentially get to pick a topic that we would like to work on so it impacts the student’s learning.  My group and I have chosen to do the same aspect, which is great because we can help one another get the information, artifacts, and notes we need to complete the paper.  At the end we get to do a presentation, without actually doing one.  We can project our information onto our computers and our classmates get to walk around and read what we did and what the students got from it.

Honestly, I hope this doesn’t sound like much.  I mean, it is a lot of work, but in the scheme of things, it is not too bad.  It is wonderful being able to do this in a group.  My group members are all people I worked with in undergrad so we all know each other and can bounce ideas off of each other really well.  Being in a positive, hard working group is the biggest thing to me, and these girls sure are hard working and positive.

My other class that I am taking this summer is for my special education extension.  This class also requires practicum hours, which my partner and I (this partner is also doing the summer camp, so yay!) have really enjoyed.  We are in a 6:1:1 at the south towns BOCES location, which I may have mentioned.  In this classroom, we are learning so much.  The children are 18-20 years old, which was a shock and new experience for both of us.  We are growing closer to our students each time we are there.  They have such a great sense of humor and it’s interesting to interact with people a few years younger than you who are functional students.  Part of our practicum hours were located at the Lion’s Club, which the students travel to in order to have a picnic, ride boats and horses, as well as eat lunch and get faces painted.  It was such a joy to see our students to happy and enjoying life!

My summer has been taken up by these classes but it is absolutely worth it.  I am learning so much and I would not trade this experience for the world.  Enjoy your free summers while you have them, but be prepared to have the summer of your life while you are here. :)

Jul 22

Internship and Life after Canisius

I am only halfway through my Anthrozoology program, but have already started thinking about what I want to do for my internship and what type of work I want after I graduate. Since I need to work full time during my internship, my options are limited. Right now, two options that I am playing with are the Philadelphia Zoo and Chenoa Manor, which is a local farm animal sanctuary. The reason the zoo is one of the options for me is I currently have mixed feelings on zoos. Is the suffering of captive animals (maybe not all are suffering, but definitely some) worth the gains in education and conservation? I am hoping an internship there would help me answer that question. I got the opportunity to visit Chenoa Manor last month and it was a unique experience. It is a 25 acre piece of land that is home to over 100 animals all rescued from different situations such as the farming industry and medical testing.


As far as work after I graduate…I am not as sure. It is possible that I will continue a paid position for whichever organization I internship for, although Chenoa Manor does not currently have any paid employees. It is all volunteer based. My plan is to switch working full-time at Microsoft into a part-time position. This way I will be able to pursue my passion of technology and my passion of animals at the same time. Down the road, I will likely switch to a full-time animal related job. I will spend some of my time on a new dog rescue I have recently started. I started PA Dog Rescue a little over a month ago and it is still it its very early stages. Although a degree is not necessary to start a dog rescue, I believe the education I receive from Canisius will help me on that venture. A class that will be particularly helpful is Shelters, Rescues, and Pounds that I will be taking next semester.

Jul 14

It’s my favorite week of the year

This entry was written by Anthrozoology guest blogger Kayla Moreau.

Giddy with both childish excitement and anticipation, I run down the halls of my house frolicking. Like a child tiptoeing into the living room on Christmas morning, I am keeping a countdown for that one week a year when I can live in all my geekish glory. It’s the one week that I am not alone in my love and passion, where Americans all around me join forces and make me see a glimmer of hope for my comrades. Even if shark love only lasts one week.

Shark Week at Discovery Communications Headquarters

July 5, 2015, marks this special week in American history with the return of SHARK WEEK! I can’t even say the word without singing it! Annoyingly, I bug my husband almost daily repeating the countdown: 20 days…7 days… 3 days! I have it marked on my calendar, the countdown app on my phone, and my TiVo already programmed to record a weeks worth of shows. For me, Shark Week is more then just TV programming. It helps to solidify my love of sharks, even if they are often seen as vicious killing machines. Of course, Shark Week does not go without thrilling, violent, bone-chilling images and stories. It has as much drama as most horror movies. It has also not been without controversy, as some believe Discovery stepped away from real science to low-budget mockumentaries. But underneath all of that is the message of how important sharks are to our marine ecosystem, and how human interactions into their environment have severely jeopardized them.


Before joining the Canisius Anthrozoology program, I understood the importance of sharks, but I never truly grasped the impacts humans have on their lives. The education offered in the Anthrozoology program is tailor-made. I have flexibility to include sharks in a variety of ways throughout my schooling. This program has turned me from a lover of sharks, to a shark-obsessed advocate. After 2 semesters, I now have the ability and understanding to see all sides of this global crisis we are in. The threats sharks face are human-based: overfishing, shark finning, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change. Shark populations have been in major decline and only very recently have laws been enacted to try change that. The more the general public learns about sharks through education, and yes, even Shark Week, the more protection I hope is in store for them.


My question is: can’t we to try to live every week like it is Shark Week; carry over the love for sharks during this week to all 52? We need sharks in our ocean, and loving them one week and loathing them the next does nothing to protect them. Sure, sharks may have a bad reputation of attacking people; so do dogs, yet we call them Man’s Best Friend. Just because it has happened, doesn’t make the animal bad – it is more likely just a case of bad timing. It’s their ocean; lets help to save it!

Jul 13

Hot Buffalo Summer

So it’s summer.  And it’s warm.  And I have summer classes.  With my summer classes, I have to do two field placements.  One is for my special education extension.  The placement is through BOCES Summer School and I actually start tomorrow.  I am excited to meet the 6 kiddos I will be working with, but also nervous because they are students that are in real need of the offered extra school year.  The students here are 18-20 years old with severe disabilities, a group with whom I have never worked with.  I am definitely excited to get to know them and learn amazing things from them.  I am positive that I will be learning more from them then they will be learning from me.  The second placement is a summer camp through the D.I Program and I am also really excited for that.  We get to create our own theme so my group has chosen to do animals.  We are excited to be taking them to the Buffalo Zoo and hopefully doing many other activities with them!  They are a younger bunch (first and second graders) so I know they will love it!  I start planning with my group on Thursday and I cannot wait!


Summer classes usually sound like a bummer.  I know my brother is taking one online class and he is already unhappy.  I am taking three, and as much as I am starting to get stressed, I know it will totally worth it.


However, since summer classes have only just started, I do not have much of an update of cool things I have learned.  So until then, I just want to tell you about Canalside.  Seriously, I am in love with that place and if I could build a house there for the summers, I probably would (because who wants to live near the lake during winter with lake effect…….seven feet of snow anyone?!?).  Canalside is an extension of the Erie Basin Marina, which my family and I would go to ALL the time when we were kids.  We would walk and listen to the music, even get some ice cream.  But I will admit that the EBA got old after a while.  There was nothing new happening, and as a child, that’s boring.  Now as an adult, I can go there, relax and love it.  Its simple ways made me appreciate it in a way that I have not before, so definitely check it out!  But anyways, back to Canalside.  So this extension is simply amazing.  There is a restaurant, a small ice cream stand, as well as a small area that serves alcohol (perfect first date spot, all areas in one :)).  On top of that, there is a sand pit area for kids, kayak rentals, as well as a sea of colorful adirondack chairs.  A short walk away there is a new area that contains an ice rink in the winter, but a “pool” in the summer which you can rent paddle boats and water bikes.  This new area is also home to Shark Girl, a Buffalo favorite.


See how much there is to do there?  And that isn’t even everything.  Each Thursday they hold a concert series that is hugely popular with Buffalonians.  Also, this past weekend they held an amazing 4th of July event with record crowds.  There was food, music, and an amazing fireworks display.  I have been to other local displays but this one is by far the best with literally a half hour show of beautiful fireworks.  They also host a variety of other events including different workout classes.  Don’t you want to move there now?  Thought so.

Buffalo is a city that is up and coming.  There is so much to do that wasn’t there when I was a kid.  I am so happy to see it getting better instead of worse.  Attending Canisius and being so close by is awesome.  Canalside is a hop, skip, jump away!  When you attend graduate school here, make sure you take time to see things like Canalside as well as events like the Allentown Arts Festival, Taste of Buffalo, and so much more!

Jul 01

A Visit with Local Neighbors

Sometimes people reserve the word “neighbor” for humans alone. But here I want to speak about my nonhuman neighbors and what they do for me. I live in New England, and to make sure I stay in touch with both myself and my local world, each day I try to walk in my community’s “town forest,” which is a typical mixed wood with both conifers and deciduous trees over very diverse undergrowth. While there is much research that says walking in the nature is good for my brain and other parts of my body (summarized nicely in Chapter 7 of Ratey and Manning’s 2014 Go Wild), what I particularly notice and enjoy is something else, namely, merely glimpsing other animals whether they be frogs, snakes, butterflies, turkeys, white tailed deer, hawks, woodpeckers, owls, a variety of songbirds and more.


Frankly, my sense is that most of the time these neighbors in the local forest hide, slipping away as I approach. But when they do show themselves, and especially when they linger to take my measure, I find that I arrive at myself in a way that does not happen often in the exclusively human world so dominated by carpentered, built spaces and humans’ relentless self-focus.

I try to be respectful of the privilege of noticing these neighbors—I am, after all, walking through their home even though the law of my own kind says that humans alone, and certainly not any nonhumans, own and control this wood. Our laws ignore—indeed, are altogether autistic about—something truly basic about the woods where I walk. My nonhuman neighbors transform those parts where I walk because my encounters, though brief, feature an energy that my human world only rarely supplies. And there is another miracle, too—any subsequent time I traverse a path along which I have previously spied one of these neighbors, I find the place has changed, and so have I. As if on cue, when I again come to a place where a previous encounter occurred, I eagerly look about, staying respectful, to see if the neighbor I saw previously is anywhere nearby. It is as if the encounter had consecrated that very spot, and I easily feel this when I return. 


These encounters and their effects inform my teaching in many ways, one of which is summarized by the geologian Thomas Berry: “we consider ourselves blessed, healed in some manner, forgiven and for a moment transported into some other world, when we catch a passing glimpse of an animal in the wild” (A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics, page 7).


These visits with my neighbors anchor me in the realization that I, my family, and all the graduate students and undergraduates I teach also live in a world that can be enchanted if we will notice and take other animals seriously and thereby learn that all of us share community in a more-than-human world.

~ Dr. Paul Waldau
Director and Professor of the Anthrozoology program

Jun 17

No Formal Education with Animals? No Problem!


My love of technology


My love of animals

When I first applied to the Anthrozoology program at Canisius, I had some concerns about my lack of formal education with animals. Currently, I am working full time at Microsoft as a Software Consultant. My Bachelor’s and Master’s are in Computer Science. I also have a minor in Mathematics. I have not had any classes or jobs that dealt with animals. 

One of the great aspects about the Anthrozoology program at Canisius is they consider applicants with a Bachelor’s degree in any major. I was worried since Computer Science and Mathematics are so unrelated to animals, I would struggle and feel out of place in the program. Boy, was I wrong! All of our student’s backgrounds are so diverse. We have students with biology backgrounds, as well as nursing, legal documentation, anthropology, and much more. We even have another fellow computer scientist! The diverse nature of our student’s backgrounds is what helps make the program so unique and successful. Everyone has their own skills, personal experiences, stories, point of views, and thoughts about the various topics we study. You may look at something one way and the viewpoint of a fellow student opens your eyes, helping you see it in a different light.

Jun 11

Spotlight on Canisius Anthrozoology Projects: FosterFit

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Canisius Anthrozoology program is the diversity of student interests, which results in a wide range of thoughtful, original research and initiatives. Sure, we can (and do) wax poetic about our favorite nonhuman animals, and they range from elephants to rhinoceroses to cows to domestic cats. But we also conduct research and implement programs that help to improve the lives of these animals, as well as our own. A standout project developed by Lea Lynch, a member of the program’s first entering class, does just that.


FosterFit dogs Elly and Sadie do some “Doga” with their humans in the Doggie & Me Yoga class

FosterFit was the brainchild of Lynch’s observation that while Americans are in desperate need of a personal wellness overhaul, Western medicine can be intimidating and unapproachable. To lessen some of the anxiety associated with doctor visits, prescription drugs, and strict medical regimes, Lynch piloted a free program that enriches participants both socially and physically, based on research demonstrating the benefits of canines as sources of support. As Lynch points out, “A dog will never say ‘no thanks’ to getting out of the house for a brisk walk or other fun fitness activities.”




Adonis learns how to navigate the Treat Tunnel at FitPet™ class

Each participant fostered a specially-selected dog from the Humane Society for Greater Savannah (HSGS), living, eating, and exercising daily with the dog for the duration of the ten-week pilot. Health Restoration 101 of Savannah, Georgia counseled human participants on healthy eating, based on nutrient-dense, plant-based foods, and Kayla Moreau, a fellow Canisius Anthrozoology student, provided expertise and guidance on nutrition for foster dogs. The YMCA of Coastal Georgia provided fitness instruction, including enjoyable activities such as fetch races, dog relays, and agility work. Weekly fitness events, as well as periodic social events, created opportunities for participants to interact with each other, and dog training classes sponsored by HSGS provided further opportunities for participants to bond with their canine companions. As an incentive to monitor and track activity, as well as celebrate their fitness achievements, human participants wore Fitbit technology, and dogs wore Whistle collars, both of which track daily activity and rest. At the end of the program, participants and their dogs gathered for a celebratory picnic and closing ceremony.


Wendy and Dixon, FosterFit partners, doing a meet & greet at a local pet fair

While official data have not yet been tabulated, Lynch spoke informally with participants, who reported that they had lost weight, felt that their emotional states had improved, and that they developed strong bonds with not only their foster dogs, but their fellow human participants, sustaining friendships beyond their participation in FosterFit. Incredibly, six of eight participants adopted their foster dogs, while one stayed with her human as a continued foster, and one was adopted out to another family. Optimum physical and mental health elude much of the American population, but social support is continually cited as an important factor in sustained efforts toward betterment. FosterFit’s commitment to social support, both human and canine, uniquely positioned the program to succeed. In addition, formerly homeless dogs were placed into loving homes with those who forged a bond with them over the ten-week period, ensuring continuing emotional and physical support for both.

For more information about FosterFit, please visit





Jun 04

Four Years with Jane Goodall

The season of family picnics and reunions draws near which means I’m drafting up my responses to my favorite question: “Anthrozoology? What are you going to do with that degree?”

The good news is that I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been working in my field for almost four years now and I absolutely LOVE my job. My own parents (who are just thrilled for me) even roll their eyes when they have to hear me rave about having my dream job. The sad truth is that it seems uncommon to love your job these days. So, I repeat, I am one of the lucky ones.

Dr. Jane's visit to Canisius, 2010

In 2010, I was serving as the Senior Fellow for the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations (ISHAR) at Canisius. ISHAR was just starting and some how, some way, we were lucky enough to kick off the speaker series with Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE. Dr. Jane delivered her lecture, “Gombe and Beyond: The Next 50 Years,” and captured my heart (along with 2,500 other hearts at the KAC that day).

I’m know I’m not the only young person who met Dr. Jane and subsequently declared that I would work for her some day. During her visit to Canisius, I learned about the Jane Goodall Institute’s global humanitarian youth program, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. In fact, hundreds of thousands of young people in more than 120 countries around the world are following in Dr. Jane’s footsteps as well.

With Dr. Jane in Costa Rica, 2015

When I finished my undergraduate degree (in political science with minors in zoo biology and anthrozoology – wait, what?), I scored a fellowship with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and spent a short time working in an office in Danbury, CT. From there, I was offered a full time position as the Program Coordinator and I was given the gift of being able to work from home in WNY.

I am living in a city that I love – a city that raised me – doing a job that I love. Every day, I get to work with young people and their mentors all over the world who are making a positive difference for people, animals, and the environment. We call ourselves the “next generation of Jane Goodalls.” We’ve tasked ourselves with ensuring a bright future for the Earth and all of the beings that live here. Very anthrozoology.

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