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For many couples, the bond they have with their pets turns out to be more enduring than the one they made with their spouse or domestic partner. When a couple breaks up, what becomes of their dog, cat, horse or rabbit? If courts and attorneys get involved, the only certainties are high stress and high cost. Charles Regal proposes an alternative: pet mediation. Trained in social work, but laid off with 25 years of experience resolving all sorts of landlord-tenant, workplace and neighbor disputes, Regal recognized a need and an opportunity. He created a professional practice focused exclusively on resolving custody battles over pets.

On this week’s show, we’ll meet the founder of Regal Pet-Centric Mediation and learn how he helps people design mutually acceptable agreements by keeping the focus on their pets’ well being and inspiring their higher motivations. It’s working: for the people and their animals.

For Regal, love is rooted in gratitude. His cat, Sapphire, actually saved his life by recognizing that while he slept, his blood sugar level had fallen dangerously low. Yowling and licking his face, she woke him up and prevented his falling into a diabetic coma.

Until recent changes in American law, custody battles over the pets could be dreadful – and deadly. Animals were treated like property or worse; they could even be put down when “owners” couldn’t agree on how to resolve custody. More recently, people are recognizing their relationship with their animals is more than ownership, and the law has begun to acknowledge it as a guardianship relationship. This has opened up an innovative career path for Charles Regal.

Entrepreneurship is one of the challenges he has had to meet reinventing his work life, but he is eager to share his lessons and has great confidence in his own and others’ mental and spiritual resources to generate independence and business viability by filling a market niche.