Category: Pet Sympathy Gift

Puppy Love

Ellie our new pup is so soft, her coat feels like you are running your fingers under  water.   She’s so wiggly it’s like tustling with a 1 year old who wants to get down and walk all the time.   Her nails are like scissors – check out my shredded duvet.  She ‘digs’ into it to make her special space.  She finds ‘anything’ that is a no no.  From shoes, of course, to pen tops, from my thyroid meds to my daughter’s $1800 hearing aid (not covered by insurance).  She adores her big brother,  another Portugese Water Dog and follows him around like the idolizing younger sister that she is.    But no matter ‘how’ naughty she is, I can’t get mad at her.  Because, did you know that when you stroke a dog it releases the same chemicals that you release when you are in love?  Don’t we all need a little love?   Here are more facts you should know about pets…..

They Improve Your Mood:  A recent study found that men with AIDS were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet. (According to a study men with AIDS who did not own a pet were about three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than men who did not have AIDS. But men with AIDS who had pets were only about 50 percent more likely to report symptoms of depression, as compared to men in the study who did not have AIDS.)

They Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs:  While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, a groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

They Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love:
Pets can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and bring physical peace.  

They Are Better At Reducing Stress Than People:  Research shows that when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present!   Sources: Evenson RJ, Simon RW. Clarifying the Relationship Between Parenthood and Depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. December 2005. Siegel JM, Angulo FJ, Detels R, Wesch J, Mullen A. AIDS diagnosis and depression in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study: the ameliorating impact of pet ownership. AIDS Care. April 1999.

Monty and Ellie.  You don’t judge me, you just love me.  What a lesson I  can learn from you!

PS  Pets are family.   Comfort a friend who has lost a pet

Grief, and a stranger’s words

After a loss, comes the day to day numbness.  The funeral is over.  The flowers have died.  The calls are getting fewer.  I look at the empty gift baskets and pile of stuff lying on the side that came in them.  Books!  I have no desire to read.  To ‘fix’ how I feel.  I know people are expecting me to move on.  I’m stuck in limbo.  Stuck in grief and I feel that fewer and fewer people care.  I am feeling so alone.  So I pick up one of these well meaning books.  I can’t focus for long.  So I look at paragraphs, rather than chapters.  Then I sleep.  Then I wake and I feel so alone again.  Over time I read more and sleep less.  Sleep is me escaping the everyday pain and emptiness.   I can read longer paragraphs, and actually skim chapters.  And now and again I find a nugget.  I find some ‘words’ that are so pure and wonderful from someone who has walked in my shoes.  I’m amazed that a stranger rather than a close friend can give me relief from my sadness.  I start to collect these words so I can visit them when I feel sad.  They are like a ray of sunshine each time I read them.   My collection gets bigger.  My days get easier.  Not easy, but easier… I’m so grateful for a stranger’s words.

“Miss Me” Poem
“Miss Me But Let Me Go. When I come to the end of the road, and the sun as set for me, I want no rites in a gloom-filled room, why cry for a soul set free? Miss me a little-but not too long, and not with your head bowed low, remember the love that we once shared. Miss me but let me go. For this a journey we all must take, and each must go alone. It’s all a part of the Master’s plan, a step on the road to home. When you are lonely and sick of heart, go to the friends we know. Bury your sorrows in doing good  deeds. Miss me but let me go.”


Cheese – PERLEASE!

Cheese – PELEASE!

 Did I ever tell you that Cheese is the reason I started Healing Baskets?

I still remember the day when searching for a special sympathy gift I was encouraged to send a basket of cheese.  Someone somewhere thought that a basket full of cheddar and crackers would be just what was needed to comfort someone in their darkest hour…..

Cheese – perlease! 

It spurred me on to create baskets that would actually bring comfort.  Baskets that were for women who had lost mothers, for sons who had lost fathers, for children who had lost grandparents.  For people who had lost spouses.  For parents who had lost children.  For people who had lost loved ones unexpectedly.  For people who have lost beloved animals.  Baskets themed around my favorite comforting poems.  Gifts sourced from a place of wanting that special gift that I was never able to find. 

We don’t’ sell tear collectors because we don’t believe the amount of tears you shed indicates how much someone was loved.   We do sell gifts that offer comfort and are lasting.    We feel like we are reaching out and grasping your hand with every order we ship.

Thanks cheese for putting me on this path!   You are responsible for Healing Baskets brightening lives one friend at a time.

The Loss of a Pet and How Healing Baskets can Help

A week ago I ran into a neighbor I’ve known for ten years.  We’re not close friends or anything, but we’ve always liked one another.  After about ten minutes of casual conversation, she shared that they’d put their dog to sleep the day before.  While I know she was working hard on having a brave face, it was also just as obvious that her heart was broken. And at my company, Healing Baskets, it’s a story we hear all the time.

It’s a funny thing about when we lose a pet.  When we lose them, we seem to think we can (and should) work through it quickly … easily…  The truth is, though, that pets are part of our home and members of our family.  We sometimes spend years and years sharing our lives and our love with them.

We’re in a unique place when we hear that a friend lost a pet – we’re able to honor their sorrow even if they try to push it away or pretend they’re okay.  Since my neighbor had to put her pet down, she even felt that her sadness was unjustified. She questioned if she had made the right decision. Could she have done it later. Should she have done it earlier? I shook my head gently, and I reminded her of a day fourteen years earlier, when she arrived in a limousine from New York with the stray puppy tucked into her shirt pocket.  He was a chunky baby with ginormous paws.  Her boss had rescued him from a the street in Queens, and my neighbors had welcomed him into their home – even as he grew bigger than Clifford the Big Red Dog (or so it seemed to all of us). 

After I went home that day, I went into my studio and made them one of Healing Baskets unique pet sympathy baskets.  I included a Rainbows and Bridges Pet Memorial Kit, a ceramic pet sympathy frame, and then I searched a huge box of photos to find a picture I’d taken of their daughter and dog at our neighborhood block party the year before.  I don’t even think anyone knew I took the picture.  Later, I left the basket on their doorstep with a simple note and my phone number.  I know we can’t fix one another, especially when it’s a heart that’s been broken, but maybe, once in a while, being there is good enough. That’s what Healing Baskets is all about.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  — Anatole

To your peace and joy, Caroline Cheshire
Founder of Healing Baskets, Inc.

PS: To see some of the Pet Sympathy Baskets referenced in this article, go to: