School of Health in Social Science

Pets and changing homes: the views of care experienced children/young people

A project exploring the nature of care-experienced children's relationships with pets and the impact of housing/home transitions


A child in an orange coat cycling through the forest alongside a dog

This study ran from January to July 2022. It recognises the significant change that care experienced children and young people encounter and the important role that pets can play in terms of:

(a) providing support, companionship and affection, and

(b) helping to develop positive relationships with other people.

Our project focused on understanding the impact of changing homes/housing on children and young people's relationships with their pets, with a view to identifying how support can be put in place to maintain relationships and/or help those who have lost a pet. It involved interviews with care leavers and an online survey with children and young people who had care experience.


A summary of the research can be downloaded


The presentation below was given at the Wild Minds Network conference ‘Human-Animal Relationships and Mental Health: Complicating the Story’



The study was funded by the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), alongside other projects that are investigating the role of housing in pet ownership/attachment:  SCAS Confirms Successful Applicants for 2021 Research Funding Round | SCAS

Our partners in the study:

Project details

Our online survey is still live, and we would welcome more participants. The survey is for children and young people who have experience of being in care, aged between 12 and 25 years, who have had at least one pet that is/was important to them.

There are two sections below. The first is for carers/guardians/parents of children/young people aged 12-15 years. We need their consent before the child/young person can take part. The second is for those aged 16 and over, who can complete our survey straightaway.

Please find all the information you need in the relevant section below.

Image of boy with cat against blue background



Section 1: Carers/guardians/parents


Please find below a letter detailing all aspects of the research and a link to the online consent form, in addition to an information sheet for children/young people. 



Image of girl with dog and a header to mark the section on information for young people




Section 2: Young people aged 16-25 years


Please find below an information sheet on the research with a link to the online survey. Please get in touch if you would prefer to take part in a short discussion with the researcher.

Contact for the research:

Dr Janine Muldoon (Research Fellow and Project Coordinator)