Soulwork Home Page

Check your spelling

Soulwork Online Help

Soulwork Humor: Funny stories


Soulwork Systemic Coaching: Summary

Soulwork Coach Training

Soulwork FAQ Questions & Answers


Emotional Issues
Anger & Rage

Eating Problems
Emotional Maturity
Grief & Loss
Inner Child

Pain Control
Stress Relief

Toxic Beliefs
Trauma & Stress
Weight Loss


Relationship Problems

Dissolve Conflicts
Emotional Blackmail

Enjoy Partnership
Evaluate Partners
Long-Distance Love
Love & Hate

Past Partners
Sexual Issues
Soul Mates


Family Challenges

Brothers & Sisters
Divorce & Children
Emotional Incest
Family Meetings
Family Secrets

Fathers & Daughters
Fathers & Sons
Learning Disorders
Mothers & Daughters
Mothers & Sons

Parental Alienation


Life Lessons
Bad Habits
Being Alone
Children's Challenges
Observing Feelings

Patterns in Love
Personal Growth
Quantum Leap
Self Esteem
Self Improvement
Self Intimacy
Stress & Relaxing
Therapist and Clients


Chaos Coaching

Inner Conflict
Expert Modeling
Learning Disorders

Sexual Abuse
Soul of Soulwork
Systemic Management
Therapist Abuse
Training Abuse



Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

eXTReMe Tracker

Family Pets & Relationships
Dogs and cats can be people too Martyn Carruthers

Online Solutions for Emotional and Relationship Issues

Few people treat human beings as substitutes for pets, yet many people treat pets as substitutes for people. Family pets may be substitutes for missing children, absent partners, missing siblings or missing family members. We can also help you sort out your emotions and relationships with pets.

Healing Relationships with Pets

You may feel loved by pets in ways that you may not have found in other relationships. Pets can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being, and pets can help people who suffer from physical or mental diseases. Pets can be loyal and friendly when treated well, whether they are sleeping by your feet or walking by your side.


Pets can give their owners love and loyalty. A pet can help fulfill your need to care - and provide a sense of belonging and sharing. Relationships with animals have many of the responsibilities of human relationships. You can enjoy the emotional rewards of caring for pets.

Caring for animals can improve your health, reduce anxiety and help you control guilt and stress. Caring for animals can improve a child's health, social competence and learning. Companion animals are common in families with children and with people who want children.

Scientists at the University of New York at Buffalo studied the effects of the presence of pets on stress. Their findings were published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

God-father or Dog-father: Substitutes

Do you grieve for someone? Many pets are substitutes for children, especially for infertile or childless couples, or following miscarriages or abortions. Some pets are substitutes for loving partners. And some people choose pets as substitutes for friends, after judging other human beings to be less trustworthy.

We help people explore their relationships to find compassion and understanding. Healed hearts have the courage, strength and space to love again. If a pet is a substitute for a missing person - a relationship with a pet can be a profound and important experience.

When our dog was killed by a car, I asked you to help our grieving son. We were surprised when you suggested a family meeting. In our meeting, you helped us realize that our dog was:

  • For my wife - a substitute for an aborted child
  • For my young son - a substitute for his dead grandmother (big surprise!)
  • For my sister - a substitute for a child that she always wanted
  • For me - a faithful security guard who could "father" my son

You helped us express our feelings and appreciate each other's needs.
Our tragedy became a healing for our whole family and gave us insights into the loving depth of your systemic work. We are all deeply touched.
Rijeka, Croatia

When is a Pet a Substitute?

Love and friendship with pets can enrich lives. Loving pets as substitutes for dead or missing people can also create relationship chaos and suffering. For example, if a pet is a substitute for a partner or child, the motivation to enjoy human partnership or parenthood may drop.

When a pet is a substitute for a missing or dead child, some children may demand that the pet have special treatment.

My veterinarian friend said that dogs and cats can carry emotional problems of their owners,
and that dog epilepsy is common if their owners have huge nervous tension.
Similar to children, in my opinion.
Zvolen, Slovakia

If a pet is a substitute for a partner or a child, your motivation to create a partnership or a child may drop. We help people improve their human relationships, enjoy pets as friendly animals and honor any missing people as a basis for healthy relationships.

Sometimes a pet who is a substitute for a person may exhibit (or predict) characteristics of the person being replaced ... or try to fulfill some emotional need of the owners, perhaps a need for distraction, a need to care for a special child or a need to sort out some conflict.


My girlfriend's dog is hyperactive and has attention problems, although he is a smart dog and understands orders. Last week I took her dog for a walk alone, and to my surprise, her dog was absolutely different ... seemed older and calmer. Ostrava, Czech Republic

When a Beloved Pet Dies

When a pet dies or is killed, the trauma can be severe for people who felt close to the pet. A pet's death, whether by disease, accident or old age, can create a sense of loss and grief, and the pain can be intense. Few people seem prepared for suffering the loss of beloved pets.

After losing a loved pet, create a healing space for grief and pain. Perhaps you can review your love for your pet. We can help you replace your suffering with healing.

When my dog died, my suffering was unimaginable. I became ill and I wondered if I would die. We found that my dog was a sort of replacement for my mother's abortion before I was born. Once I could grieve my dead (I think) sister, I could relax about my dog and wish her well in whatever doggy afterlife there may be. Boston

We can help you identify your needs and fulfill your desires. We can help you review your memories, fantasies and disappointments. We help you accept your loss and express gratitude for whatever blessings your relationship provided. We help you recover the pleasure of feeling good in your own skin ... a feeling of wellbeing.

Your next Step?

If you lose an animal companion, we can help you through your feelings of loss, anger and depression. As you gain insight into your relationship, you can validate your loss, relieve your pain and explore new possibilities for happiness.

We can help you work through your grief at your own pace, as you explore your life lessons that you learned with your animal companion.

Relationships that share love connect you to your core. These connections amplify the sense of loss that is felt when a loved one or loved pet leaves or dies.
Contact us for compassionate support?

Online Life Coaching, Relationship Counseling and Systemic Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2005-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email