Longtime TV actress and animal devotee Betty White has looked into the many facets of the human/companion-animal bond--and the resulting book is chock-full of scientific studies, poignant case histories, engaging anecdotes, and autobiographical clips. White's own dogs and cat, she says, helped her cope with the death of her husband, TV personality Allen Ludden, 18 months ago. Recent research, moreover, indicates that actions as simple as just stroking a pet reduce stress, lower blood pressure (the person's and the pet's), and help cardiac patients live longer. There are informative chapters devoted to the role pets play with children (boosting self-esteem through unconditional love), with adults (alleviating loneliness), and with the elderly (one doctor's prescription for a nursing-home patient read: ""one dog""), as Well as in various therapeutic programs. Pet therapy is not limited to typical creatures--""everything from ants and alligators to frogs and seagulls, snails, lizards, snakes, and goldfish are being used in one program or another."" Citing successful and heartwarming cases, White relates the story of a despondent young man and an equally despondent parrot who, when teamed together, raise each other's spirits; in another instance, an autistic young girl's first spoken words are to a pony. Pets are not miracle cure-alls, stresses White--but ""as an adjunct--as a contributing positive influence on our daily lives--animals have proven themselves invaluable to those of us inclined to be near them."" For the star-struck, White devotes an entire chapter to her famous animal-oriented friends--Doris Day, Mary Tyler Moore, Earl Holliman. A lively and useful compendium that won't need to be pushed.