Shelly Volsche received her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a focus on reproductive choices and the human-animal bond. Using an evolutionary lens, she studies our ever-changing relationships with non-human animals, as well as applying the One Health approach to behavioral health and cross-species relationships. Her current projects investigate the increasing importance of pets as family members, including the application of human parenting strategies with companion animals. This involves consideration of coevolutionary processes, cross-cultural comparisons of pet keeping, interspecific attachment, and the connection between reduced fertility and increased pet parenting. Relatedly, she is interested in how an appreciation of the emotional and cognitive abilities of other species shapes human perceptions of who is food, foe, or family, and the welfare implications of our influence and uses of other animals.
Her dissertation investigated the practice of remaining childfree and is available from Lexington Books. See (Voluntary Childfree: Identity and Kinship in the U.S.)