Paws & Claws Mission Statement

Providing Inspiration, Education, Transformation: Supporting the Animals, the Earth, and All Life in the acceleration in consciousness taking place at this time. “Communion with all life is everyone’s birthright, waiting to be reawakened in each human being.”

It is our desire to provide a foundation for people to come together in this joy and spiritual transformation.


The following is a sample story from Paws & Claws, a quarterly newsletter written and published by Paws & Claws.

Practice "Soft Eyes"
by Gina Palmer & Sherry Jones

Soft eyes is a method animals use to communicate. When an animal offers you their soft eyes, they are talking to you. You can talk back to them using your own soft eyes. Offering an animal your soft eyes, is a way of communicating your intention to honor them with mutual respect. Mutual respect builds trust, and establishing trust is one of the first steps in creating common ground with your animal. For instance; Imagine your dog laying out in the grass in your back yard. Before approaching your dog to communicate, spend some time first observing her/him just laying there gazing around, relaxing, enjoying herself just being in the outdoors. Soft eyes in this case generally means; I am here and I am at peace. One of the best ways to be respectful of someone else's peace and serenity, is to not interrupt it; instead, set the intention prior to approaching your animal of merging with their peace/serenity. Then, approach the animal.

If you are a professional dog or horse trainer, dog groomer, vet or other animal professional, using soft eyes before touching or approaching an animal can literally transform the animal's experience of being in your care. It minimizes or eliminates any fears or anxieties the animal may be experiencing. If you are visiting a friend who has animals in their house, practicing soft eyes before petting the animal is a way of communicating your acknowledgment of them, prior to petting them. When working with birds or wild animals, practicing soft eyes is one of the most reverent gestures you can offer to the animal, vs.. plowing ahead into an interaction immediately with the animal.

When you choose to use soft eyes, you are choosing a technique that does not involve direct eye contact; but rather an indirect gazing in the direction of the being with whom you wish to communicate. In many human cultures, as well as animal cultures, looking directly into the eyes of another is sometimes perceived by the other as disrespectful, or in the case with certain animals, a threatening gesture. I use soft eyes when I work with human students during Totem Power Animal sessions. I do this because I can sometimes sense that the person is experiencing some anxiety about going on a Shamanic journey. Soft eyes is also used as a technique in practicing Shamanism, because it creates a way to cancel left brain activity, in favor of allowing for support of right brain activation of the Beta brain waves.

I have observed soft eye practiced by such an abundance of species, both domestic and wild, that I have concluded the practice to be an inborn, inherent behavior that humans must have forgotten; that perhaps our ancient ancestors might have used in communication with each other and all of life. Why are humans the only animals that have forgotten this? Could it be that humans may be the only species on the planet that may have forgotten our inherent connection to the web of life? Is our bug-eyed and hurried approach to communication a manifestation of our fear based perceptions, dominance and superiority attitudes, and modern day tendencies to intimidate one another vs.. communicate with one another? Each of us must go inside of ourselves to answer these questions.

In matters of restoring beneficial health and behavior is when this technique is most appreciated, as well as when communicating. You can observe animals self-healing using soft eyes. Recall in your experience when you have witnessed an animal in ill health. Usually they are setting very still, eyes nearly closed, and using calibrated breathing. Animals have an instinct to draw upon the inner resources of stillness, breath, and focus of soft gazing. They appear almost as if in a trance (which in a sense, they are). They "soften" themselves, their environment, and their intention toward gentleness. They do this when self-healing and when working with others (human & non-human).
To illustrate this action of healing I offer you a story sent to me of a cat working with a dying dog.

The story is titled "Chardo's Angel":

It was a beautiful spring day. Purple Martins swooped wildly over the jumping fish in the backyard pond, plucking the early mosquitoes out of the humid air. Branches of full apple blossoms swayed rhythmically back and forth in the breeze. The scent of lilac wafted through the open windows, and the old boxer lay dying. It had begun early in the pre-dawn hours. Hurried last minutes instructions had been written down for me, along with emergency numbers in case there were any problems. Chardo's owners were well aware that their dog was dying of heart failure, but legal matters in the city compelled them to go. It was only for a day, but it hurt them greatly to leave. They just couldn't stand the thought of something happening to Chardo and him being alone.

I had agreed to close up my photographic studio for the day and dog sit. Chardo had immigrated to Canada from Germany along with his owners and four cats seven years ago. They must have been quite the sight in the arrival area. I have witnessed many a cat on a luggage carousel mewing pitifully while waiting for their owners to claim them. Two of the cats had met with various ends that seem to befall farm felines. Now only Chardo and two remained.

He had been a lovely dog, dark chocolate brown with just the right amount of white to contrast. Over the years his cropped ears had grown deaf, and arthritis had crippled and twisted his once powerful legs. Old age seems to come too soon to boxers, and he was no exception.

I watched him vigilantly. He slept in the sun, eyes softened, struggling for every breath. When he awoke, he checked out of the window to see if his family had returned. Finding that they had not, he would flop down with a heavy sigh, soften his eyes again and return to the comfort of sleep. He ate with gusto the chicken they had left for his lunch, and even ventured outside for a while. Every few steps he was forced to pause to catch his ever decreasing breath. It was bitter sweet watching him turn his face up to the sun filled air, eyes softened, to sniff those far off smells that he was incapable of pursuing. The afternoon passed in that slow dreamlike fashion that accompanies spring. It was during that time that I witnessed something that moved me beyond words.

Throughout the day, I had been listening to Chardo's labored breathing. I was apprehensive when I realized that I could no longer hear it. I ventured out into the sun room and peeked around the corner, afraid that he had passed while his owners weren't home to say goodbye.

Instead, I saw him laying in the warm rays that spilled through the window. Laying next to him was Daisy the cat. Each of them lay facing one another, eyes softened and focused upon the moment and each other. She had her paws wrapped gently but firmly around his neck and was licking him intently. Starting with his ears, she cleaned thoroughly inside and out. Once finished on one side, she would move patiently to the other and patiently begin again.

The effect on Chardo was positively medicinal. His breathing was more even and less raspy. The look on his face seemed one of pure gratitude. His eyes were blissfully softened, as he was being attended to by his furry nursemaid. I honestly don't know where Daisy found the stamina, as she washed the big dog from his head to his hind quarters. When she had finished, she collapsed between the two enormous paws and together they lay face next to face, eyes softened, sharing each others breath. I fancied that she had somehow sensed that he lacked his own and was trying to provide even that. They rested contented until Chardo's family was home once again.

The owner called me that night at supper time to tell me that Chardo had passed away, and to thank me for taking care of him on his last day. I told her it had been my pleasure, but that the real hero was a small black and white angel named Daisy. She had comforted him in a way none of us ever could by giving him everything that was possible for her to give. I will never forget her brave efforts on behalf of her friend, or the competent manner in which she went about nurse-maiding Chardo. I only hope that, I too, will always be willing to comfort until I am exhausted merging softly with another, and then be willing to share my tired breath.

Sometimes it is the simple things, such as offering a softened manner, that impact another's experience most potently. As healers, teachers, trainers and professionals we sometimes forget that the animals are also healers, teachers and professionals, and have much wisdom to offer us. They can teach us about the profound powers laying dormant within intention, about the potency of soft gazing, and offering our respect for one another as medicine, and having a willingness to release our attachments, in favor of merging with the beloved.

Read the story of Sara, the white dove: The Miracle Medicine of Love