The Human-Animal Bond and the Legacy of Dr. R.K. Anderson

Dr. Marty Becker and Dr. R.K. Anderson
Teresa Becker
Dr. Marty Becker and Dr. R.K. Anderson at R.K.'s 90th birthday celebration.

My friend and fellow veterinarian Dr. R.K. Anderson passed away last week; he was 90 years old. I know most pet lovers have never heard of Dr. Anderson, but they know him by the work he did, and it was very good work indeed.

He brought the science of animal behavior to the training of our animal companions, and both people and pets are better for it. Even as the veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers who knew and admired him contemplate our lives without him, his legacy endures.

Every day, because of Dr. Anderson, countless dog owners take their pets for a walk that is a pleasure at both ends of the leash. That’s because among his many accomplishments, there is one every dog lover knows: Dr. Anderson was the coinventor of the Gentle Leader head collar. He was also a founding diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) and a mentor to many veterinarians, including me. And always, he was a powerful voice for pets, people and the profession of veterinary medicine.

Words cannot begin to convey how much he will be missed, nor how revolutionary the legacy he leaves behind.


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