Changing pets and their human’s lives through reiki

I provide reiki to pets and train their owners so they can give reiki to their animals and to themselves, building better mental health.

Photo of Pauline Smit-Lee
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Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Pauline Smit

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Choose not to respond

Headquarters location: country

  • United Kingdom

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?

In North West England helping owners and their animals work together to self heal.

Website or social media url(s)

Facebook - PaulineSmitReiki

Date Started

April 2019

Focus Areas

  • Fostering emotional intelligence and behavioural competences
  • Enhance physical activity and wellness

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €10k - €50k

Organisation Type

  • hybrid: a combination of different types of organisations, such as a social enterprise (an organisation that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being)

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Pauline Smit was a sad teenager, and through a combination of support from her beloved dog Borre, and learning how to self-heal through reiki, she grew up to be a happy adult. She knew that if you love and take care of your pet, and give them reiki when they are scared or sick, that they pay that back in love and care for you. She also learnt when she piloted the reiki with animals, that their owners would stay in the room and get the benefit too! She then thought, how about I teach owners how to do reiki on themselves and their animals. She has since teamed up with a local dog rescue centre where her trainees can do their practice,increasing the benefit.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Animals can’t tell us when they are sad, and sometimes it’s hard to see when they are in pain, but by practicing reiki on animals, they can relax and self-heal. Reiki works on every living thing so it also helps their owners too. One client took her dog to Pauline, but was having a hard time at work and suffering with a chronic condition, but had never thought to get support for herself. Through Pauline both dog and owner get well.

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Reiki is a healing energy which benefits all living things, humans and animals. It helps when humans or animals are in recovery, with mental health or when an animal has an ongoing condition such as arthritis. By combining animal and human reiki, owners who prioritise their pet over their own health still get the benefit. They learn how to self heal and how to help their animal heal.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Reiki has been used in other cultures but us relatively under-used as a therapy in the U.K. There have been clinical trials proving the benefit, but it is still treated as something mystical rather than a down-to-earth practical tool we can all use. Pauline is bringing this approach - the reiki combined with the down-to-earth attitude, to people and pets who have previously never heard of it.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

Many of my human clients are isolated or struggling with health. Through working with their animal they sit in the room during therapy, and relax into the energy too.. often leaving both dog and owner asleep! Then owners want to know more so I run courses so they can practice reiki themselves on their animals. The courses bring like minded people together to combat isolation, and the reiki helps animal and human to heal. Trainees also go to a dog rescue where they practice on rescue dogs, which in turn gives these dogs healing and relaxing energy, often after trauma in their lives.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

So far I have worked with over 100 people and their animal, mostly dogs and horses. My business plan for this year is to work with 200 people and run five courses.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

I hope to grow direct sessions and training, including through getting my own premises and through associates delivery on my behalf. I am working with “This a Girl Means Business” marketing people to develop my marketing.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

We have a mental health crisis in many countries in the Western world. Through harnessing the healing power of reiki we can benefit humans and their pets.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

I charge for sessions and have some pilot work with mental health charities which I hope to grow. I have applied for some grants too. With my own premises I can also hire space to bring in income.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Pauline Smit is the practitioner and leader, supported by Amelia Lee who helps with funding bids and writing articles.

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

I would like to do a national tour of my work, to various venues including universities, horses stables / yards/ race courses and pet shows to reach as wide an audience as possible. I will also do a big social media campaign.

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Charlotte Erika Walker

As a fellow Reiki Healer for Animals, as well as Humans I know how beneficial Reiki can be for both parties involved, especially of the animals, is one's own pet. As we live in symbiosis with them we pick up on each other's physical and emotional imbalance and working with Reiki truly helps both Human and Animal. I love your idea and I hope you can go further in your project wish.
And maybe you would like to keep in contact as a fellow Healer?
Best Wishes,
Charlotte Erika Walker

Photo of Pauline Smit-Lee

Hello, that sounds great... do you have a Facebook or instagram I can connect to you on?