Dogs, cats, fish, birds and other pets have long been incredible companions for their owners. One of their most outstanding characteristics is the unconditional love they offer to us. For any of you who have ever owned a pet, you know the benefits of having these loving beings in your life.

I remember reading stories how cats were put in the Pharaoh’s tombs when they were buried to help them journey on into the spiritual realm in safety. In some religions, it is felt that when an owner is ill, the animal actually can take on the illness to help in healing their owner.

The pets that are man’s best friend provide many benefits and they are being credited with providing not only companionship to humans, but health benefits to many as well. The medical establishment and people in general are beginning to recognize and accept the healing impact these animals have on the human being.

Studies have shown that the simple stroking of a pet, such as a dog or cat, can actually lower heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Even watching fish in an aquarium creates similar effects. It is both soothing and meditative.

Guide dogs are truest friends to the blind, acting as their eyes. Dogs have also been found to sense when a master is having epileptic seizures and are being trained to get their medications at the onset before their master goes into the full seizure. There are many new experiences documented with pets.

Most animals in general are psychic or super sensitive. They sense, earthquakes, tornados, storms, and they are also known to sense the presence of spirits from the other side when they are in close proximity. Dolphins, horses, and other animals are all being used in healing work on some level. Assisting in helping autistic indivduals, the disabled and so much more. Many who are gifted with the opportunity of receiving healing of this nature are transformed from the experiences.

Many animal shelters are beginning to bring animals for visits to nursing homes fostering a healing energy for so many elderly people. It definitely has been successful for while it can help reduce stress, it facilitates more social interaction. It also brings the people in the facility together with a common interest. Many reflect on the own pet companions that may have passed, that they are missing. In reminiscing, they remember happy times. They seem to open up when they are around animals. It is great for children in rehabilitation centers as well. This so called “pet therapy” is being recognized more and more. “Pet therapy” also encourages prior pet owners to share stories, pictures and descriptions of their beloved pets. It is definitely a way to get to know each other more.

For me, as I reflect back on my pets, the memories are still bittersweet. Their love was so unconditional and they were so wise. All my pets had lessons to teach me so that I could learn to lgrow and heal from their presence in my life. Pets are documented more in more with having helped their masters and families to heal on spiritual, mental, emotional and physical levels.

The world’s love of pets has evolved and are now an industry in itself, with pet shows, magazines and a booming industry supporting their grooming, feeding and comfort. People who want to give their pet the best spend millions of dollars each year. Most people treat their pets in their end of life stages no differently then they would a human loved one. They deserve it because these loving pets give us so much in terms of companionship and unconditional love.

Copyrighted by Gail R. Mitchell 05/28/00


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.