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Animal-Assisted Philosophy

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IHAC Comm. Team

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Mara-Daria Cojocaru, Animals and Human Health Certificate ‘21

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Mara-Daria Cojocaru with her dog outside in the sunshine

Mara-Daria Cojocaru developing her thoughts on animal-assisted philosophy during the COVID-19 lockdown with her inspiration and newest canine companion, Norman Ben Goof.

Mara-Daria Cojocaru spent her first COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom thinking of new ways to combine her academic and creative work to be of relevance outside of her usual circles. In addition to philosopher and poet, she is also an animal rights advocate, and wanted to bring her professional experience in line with her passion. She refers to her new work as animal-assisted philosophy. Cojocaru sought out the Animals and Human Health (AHH) professional development certificate to learn more about our complex relationships with animals and how animal-assisted interventions can be successful.

“Studying for the AHH certificate was truly fantastic and transformative. Not only did I greatly enjoy being a student again for a while, and I can only recommend IHAC for its professionalism and support, my instructors and peers also helped me to specify the vague ideas I had about what I call ‘animal-assisted philosophy’,” stated Cojocaru.

According to Cojocaru, animal-assisted philosophy is a “a combination of philosophy and creative writing not just about other animals, but also with and, most importantly, for them.”

During the AHH program, Cojocaru appreciated the blend of research-based learning and discussion of ethical complexities in animal-assisted interventions.

“Though I consider myself an animal rights advocate, I do not believe that this means humans and animals should henceforth go completely separate ways. Especially through the lens of health, both physiological and emotional, I believe that it becomes evident that we will heal as a species only through hugely improving our relations with other animals. We have got so much to learn from them,” says Cojocaru.

Looking ahead, Cojocaru has decided to use the solid foundation she received during the AHH program to develop an animal-assisted philosophy curriculum to adults who work with or on behalf of animals, or for people who live with dogs and have a particular interest in this area.

Curious about this new field? Cojocaru shared, “Before leaving my current academic post, I am organizing a two-day conference that is very much in the spirit of the idea of working for other animals and invites speakers from both academic theory and animal protection practice. It explores the concept of 'solidarity' - which is crucial in the reproduction and transformation of the social as it pertains to questions of work, health, and social justice - in the context of human-animal-relations, hoping to inspire reimagining of our communities in less anthropocentric ways.”

The conference will take place September 3 – 4, 2021. It is free, online, and all details can be found at

"Animal-Assisted Philosophy - a combination of philosophy and creative writing not just about other animals, but also with and, most importantly, for them."

Mara-Daria Cojocaru Philosopher, Poet, and Animals and Human Health Graduate