This study sought to use attachment theory as a lens through which to explore children’s relationships with animal companions in the context of long-term foster care. Inductive and deductive thematic analyses of longitudinal case study data from eight children and their foster families suggested (a) that children’s relationships with animal companions satisfied attachment-related functions in their own right and (b) that animal companions also helped to soften perceptions of foster caregivers, facilitating opportunities for the development of closeness. Animals in the foster home may therefore play an important part in helping children to find and develop secure, warm, and loving relationships.
Carr, S., & Rockett, B. (2017). Fostering secure attachment: experiences of animal companions in the foster home. Attachment and Human Development, 19(3), 259-277. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2017.1280517