The C-P.A.W.W. Team
Pictured (left to right): Paula Lewis, Jessica Grey, Dr. Cheryl Krause-Parello and Sarah Sarni
Dr. Krause-Parello is currently researching canine interaction as a stress-reducing mechanism in the wounded warrior and veteran populations. She began her research in the field of animal-assisted intervention during her doctoral studies. Her academic advisor told her that she needed to find a topic about which she was passionate in order to construct a successful dissertation. While lying out in the sun, looking down at her beloved dachshund, Samantha, she thought, “You are the one who is going to get me through my PhD program.”
Dr. Krause-Parello’s program of research was inspired by her husband, a former marine. She wanted to give back, and states that she was “too old to serve,” so she decided to build upon her passion for canines and her research experience as a nurse scientist.
She believes that these projects represent a small token of her gratitude and are a way to give back to the military community who has sacrificed for our freedom. Dr. Krause-Parello is expanding her research in the Denver area with community partners that support the mission of C-P.A.W.W. To read more, click the link above to view her faculty page.
Paula Lewis, MSc (PRA)
Pictured: Paula and Blondie
Paula’s professional career has been in the non-profit sector for the past decade and half, most of which has been spent advocating for animals through education, research, policy reform and an innate desire to bring the animal world and the human world together. This work has been throughout the Southwestern United States aiding in the recovery of wolves, the survival of prairie dogs, and the rehabilitation of local wildlife.
Paula holds a master of science in animal behavior and welfare from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Her graduate thesis focused on the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Prior to her graduate studies, she was a counselor for at-risk youth on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. She implemented an informal pilot study by bringing her dog to work to see if her students would spend more time in her office while also sharing their feelings about life, school and goals, and that they did!
In her spare time, Paula climbs walls in the gym, plays scrabble, loves to run on trails and especially enjoys eating lots of chocolate. She secretly wants to be a film critic, a spy and a ballerina. Instead, she’s currently a PhD student at Griffith University in Australia, researching co-existence between people and carnivores, specifically coyotes and dingoes, in human-dominated landscapes.
Paula is delighted to be able to continue doing research in the human-animal field by joining and contributing to the C-P.A.W.W. team at CU Denver Anschutz Medical Campus.
Jessica Grey, BA (PRA)
Pictured: Jessica and her dog, T.
Jessica received her BA in neuroscience (with an emphasis in behavioral neuropharmacology) and a minor in Italian studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. She plans to attend medical school and is currently finishing her required courses and studying for the MCAT. She has always been interested in neuroscience. "In the future, I would love to investigate the neurochemical or neuroscientific effects of canines on humans."
When Jessica was quite young, her family dog, a golden retriever, passed away. She campaigned her parents to get another dog, which involved the writing and producing her one and only single, entitled "Puppy Fever," which was successful several years later when her family adopted another dog: a German Shepherd named Blizzy.
When she saw the research assistant job posting, Jessica knew she had to be a part of Dr. Krause-Parello's research in some way. "I truly believe that canines are therapeutic for humans." Jessica hopes that C-P.A.W.W. research will eventually help veterans suffering from PTSD, victims of child abuse and others who are suffering.
Sarah Sarni, BA (RA)
Pictured: Sarah and her dog, Staley
Sarah received her BA in psychology, and her first professional position was working as a research coordinator. After spending eight years in the pharmaceutical industry, Sarah decided to pursue her passion for medical science and enrolled in the BSN program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Sarah has a strong interest in research and immediately sought involvement via the Office of Research and Scholarship. As a lifelong animal lover with a background in psychology, a position with C-P.A.W.W. was an ideal fit.
“I feel tremendously fortunate to be a part of such an elite institution that values research to this degree. I am very excited to be a part of the C-P.A.W.W. team. We are working on novel, powerful initiatives and Dr. Krause-Parello is a dynamic, dedicated researcher who constantly inspires and challenges us to do our best.”
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains and spending time with her husband, young daughter, German Shepherd-Husky mix, and two grumpy, old cats. Sarah plans on continuing her education beyond her BSN and is interested in oncology, autoimmunity, and the effects of nutrition on disease prevention.
Our Dogs and Handlers
Butler is the canine member of C-P.A.W.W.’s Professional Clinician-Canine Team (PCCT). Butler specializes in the reduction of stress and trauma in children. He is a yellow Labrador Retriever.
Pictured: Butler and handler, Dr. Kate Trujillo
Waffle works with the palliative care team as a facility dog at the Denver VA to bring comfort and support to veterans and their families. She is a Labrador/Golden Retriever Cross.
Pictured: Waffle and handler, Dr. Elizabeth Holman
Pecos is an expertly trained facility canine at the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters Child Advocacy Center in Norfolk, VA. He works with children of alleged sexual abuse during the forensic interview process. He is a Labrador/Golden Retriever Cross.
Pictured: Pecos and handler, Forensic Interviewer Michele Thames
Military-Focused AAI Research
The C-P.A.W.W. team is studying the effect of animal-assisted intervention (AAI) in the military population.
Dr. Krause-Parello has an extensive background in this field and is currently expanding her work in Denver and the greater community:
Canine Visitation and Hospitalized Older Veterans: An Innovative Approach to Impacting Stress Indicators
This study investigates the effects of canine interaction on stress responses (salivary cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase, immunoglobulin A, blood pressure, and heart rate) in senior veterans receiving palliative care at the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System in Denver, CO.
Working Dogs for Wounded Warriors: Effects of animal-assisted therapy on PTSD
Dr. Krause-Parello is the associate investigator of this study investigating the biobehavioral and psychobiologic interface among animal-assisted therapy and stress indicators, salivary cortisol, salivary alpha-amylase, and IgA, blood pressure, and pulse, in wounded warriors being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Krause-Parello has many AAI initiatives. Below are some of her funded projects involving AAI:
Behavioral and Psychobiologic Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Traumatic Stress Disorder in Child Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Dr. Krause-Parello is the principal investigator of this study dealing with canine companionship for children who have suffered from sexual abuse.
The Effects of Canines Visitation on Older Adults and their Caregivers Living in the Community
This study examined the effect of pet visitation on blood pressure and pulse in older adults and their caregivers with Dr. Krause-Parello as principal investigator.
Measuring Cortisol and Immunoglobulin A in Human Saliva
As principal investigator, Dr. Krause-Parello aimed to examine the relationship among stress, pet interaction, and health (using in vivo and in vitro measurements).
Relationships Among Loneliness, Human Social Support, Pet Attachment Support, and Subjective Well-being in Older Adults
The goal of this project was to study the relationships among loneliness, social support, pet attachment support, and subjective well-being in older adults. Dr. Krause-Parello was the principal investigator.
This program of research is dedicated to Dr. Krause-Parello's dachshund, Samantha who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) is an interesting and innovative approach to well-being and health across the lifespan. Below are some samples of the media attention Dr. Krause-Parello’s work has received.
ReadTheSpirit Online Magazine: Dogs, Bees and Us: Does "Lassie" reduce stress?
"If a lab analyzes your saliva for stress biomarkers, you'll find that they have fallen after watching the canine clip. Watching Lassie reduces stress. That's the conclusion of research conducted by Cheryl A. Krause-Parello, currently an associate professor at the University of Colorado [Denver] College of Nursing and Director of Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors- C-P.A.W.W."
USA Weekend: Why pets are good for us
"In recent years, research has demonstrated the healthful benefits of pets. Now, investigators are trying to figure out why pets are good for us. Krause-Parello, assistant professor and director of the Center for Nursing Research at Kean University in Union, N.J., learned that people feel better after watching a Lassie flick because their levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, take a free fall."
Esperanza: Hope to cope with anxiety and depression: The Power of Pets
"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company of a pet can help people who are living with depression. Maybe it’s because cats, dogs and other companion creatures offer unlimited affection and nonjudgmental companionship. They lift our spirits and lower our stress. They counteract symptoms such as isolation, rumination and lethargy."
Living Media: People On The Move: Cheryl A. Krause-Parello
"Their innovative two-year study, commencing at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD this summer, will explore how animal-assisted therapy may reduce the stress biomarkers present in saliva, such as cortisol and immunoglobulin A (IgA), in combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and combat-related traumatic brain injury. 'We will be looking to see if their stress indicators reduce, if blood pressure falls, if they look forward to the dog coming, and if there’s a lasting effect from the canine visitation. We will take the physiologic measurements before, after and 30 minutes after the canine’s visit, and compare the results to routine care. This is an investigation to see where this type of research can lead to,' Dr. Krause-Parello says."