I have read a great deal about pets, usually dogs, used in therapeutic ways for the elderly, and particularly for those with dementia. The unconditional love of a dog is a beautiful thing, and very useful in all kinds of applications, from helping calm autistic children, to providing assistance and love to wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (very helpful for traumatic brain injury patients and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder), to the traditional seeing-eye service dogs for the blind. Cats are more subtle in their approach, but no less therapeutic in their own way. I had a cat that was truly a healer -- he would lay on or touching whatever hurt and purr until the pain went away!
I would love to hear your stories of special pets you love or have loved and lost. How do they impact your life? How do you heal from their loss?
I also want to share a link to a website that has healing after the death of a pet as its main mission. It's called the Rainbow Bridge. Here's the link -- www.rainbowsbridge.com