The companion animal industry is growing yearly, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) yearly spending on companion animals in the United States has increased since 1994 ($17 billion) to the current high of almost $70 billion. Since the industry is increasing so rapidly NMSU hired on Dr. Gaylene Fasenko to teach the Companion Animal courses. As the companion animal industry grows, so will the need for animal scientists that have a special knowledge of companion animals.
The companion animal courses offered in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences cover the domestication, history, physiology, husbandry, human-animal bond, and health and diseases of the many different types of animals that society now views as 'companions'. While the program focuses mostly on the two most popular pets in the U.S. (dogs and cats) other animal species such as birds, rodents, reptiles, and even amphibians are studied. Students from all around campus are able to take the companion animal classes, with one being a viewing a wider world class. Undergraduate students are able to receive a minor in Human-Animal Interactions through the Department of Animal and Range Sciences.