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Dr. Jaume Fatjó

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine | Chair at Autonomous University of Barcelona

Dr. Jaume Fatjó

Born in Barcelona in 1969. He has a degree in veterinary medicine and a PhD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. Since 2010 he is an assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2012, he became the director of the Affinity Foundation Chair for Animals and Health at the Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and PSMAR. He is the co-founder of Ethometrix Ltd. He is the director of Ethogroup, a behavioural medicine referral service based in Barcelona. Since 2023 he is the head of behavioural medicine and animal welfare at VetPartners Spain. His research interests are focused on understanding the relationships between people and animals, the development of tools to assess canine and feline behaviour, as well as the comparative study of human psychiatric disorders and behaviour problems in companion animals.


ABSTRACT: "Are dogs truly the new kids? Insights into the Human-Animal Bond from
psychology and social sciences"

The human-animal bond has significantly evolved, reflecting sociological and
demographic shifts. Since the mid-20th century, Western countries have witnessed
changes leading to sustained low fertility rates. This trend has been attributed to
individuals prioritizing self-actualization, while also facing external barriers such as
financial uncertainty. Despite a shift towards individualism and smaller family units, the
fundamental need for social support persists. Social support—the assistance, comfort,
and emotional sustenance received from others—remains essential for well-being and
stress management. Dogs provide unique and complementary support compared to
humans, offering emotional backing through companionship, physical contact, and
shared activities. They are consistently available and emotionally accessible, serving as
dependable sources of comfort and self-disclosure. Dogs help people manage daily
stress and life's difficulties, especially when traditional social networks weaken. Far
from being merely a simpler choice than having children, dogs fulfill diverse roles,
providing the kind of support found in various human relationships—from parental to
friendly and even caretaking roles akin to those of children. Studies conducted in
different countries have consistently shown that living with a dog helps individuals cope
with everyday stress and navigate life's challenges. This support becomes particularly
crucial when a person's social network is compromised for various reasons. The
commitment to pet care is related to the perceived benefits of the relationship.
Analyzing the relationships between people and their dogs is important not only to
understand the human-animal bond but also to gain insights into human behavior, social
structures, and the intrinsic human need for connection.

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