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Therapy Dogs: The Staff Member You Need To Hire

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Therapy Dogs

A trend is beginning to emerge among funeral homes across the country. Therapy dogs are being introduced into funeral homes to help with grief support. Therapy dogs were first introduced in 1976 by a register nurse named Elaine Smith. Today they are used by hospitals, nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities, and now – funeral homes.

It’s no surprise really, therapy dogs have been known to help change people’s moods by offering them comfort and companionship. The real surprise is why it has taken this long to introduce them into funeral homes.

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult times for a family to go through. By having a therapy dog at your firm, you are able to offer another service that can help a family get through a tough time. After the loss of a loved one, many people are anything but cheerful. By having a therapy dog to offer comfort and support; it can help the family through the planning process.

In a recent ABC News report, Mark Krause a funeral director in Milwaukee discussed how he once witnessed, a boy about 7 years old had lost his 3-year-old sister and had stopped talking, even to his parents.

“The minute the dog came in, the boy started talking to him about his sister,” Krause said. “This little boy tells the dog, ‘I don’t know why everyone’s so upset, my sister said she’s fine where she is.”

This is just one of countless examples people have about how a dog has helped them. These dogs are trained to know when someone needs to be comforted. For years, therapy dogs have been used in grief support groups because of their ability to help calm people and allow them to open up.

Everyone has been in a social situation at some point where it becomes a bit awkward or you run out of things to say. That’s usually when a dog that’s nearby becomes the topic of conversation and changes the mood.

Benefits of Therapy Dogs

Below are a few of the physical and mental benefits therapy dogs have been known to help with:

Diminishes overall physical pain

Petting a dog helps with relaxation

Provides comfort

Lessons depression

Decreases anxiety

Reduces loneliness

Increases socialization

An important thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking about bringing a therapy dog into your funeral home is that they should be certified and not just a staff member’s family dog.

Shari Wallace is a trainer and handler for Judd, a grief therapy dog that works in Indiana advises.

“Therapy dogs need basic obedience training,” she says. “They should pass the Canine Good Citizenship test through AKC, as well as therapy dog training, then be registered and certified.

Check out LuLu the therapy dog in action!

 Get A Certified Therapy Dog

Below are some useful links if you’re interested in bringing a therapy dog into your funeral home.

American Kennel Club

Therapy Dog Info


This entry was posted in Industry News on May 29th, 2017 by ObitTree .

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2 thoughts on “Therapy Dogs: The Staff Member You Need To Hire

  1. 1

    Hi, my name is Paula & I have a sweet, Certified Therapy dog named Lucia Mollikins. Lucia will be 3 in March and is currently working with terminally ill patients, children, seniors and schools..
    We are very interested in working with funeral homes. My family are in the funeral business & I grew up with it. At one point, I was going to become a funeral director but my life took a different turn & I ended up moving to the other side of Canada 5000 miles away from home..
    I loved your article & believe it’s a fantastic idea.. A therapy dog would be a big benefit to have & will help those who are grieving. I’m going to go to some of the local funeral homes & introduce then to my girl Lucia.. I believe we would could help make a difference.
    We will let you know how we make out.. Thank you,
    Paula & Therapy Dog Lucia Mollikins

    • 2

      Hi Paula,

      That’s great to hear. Therapy dogs are making a big difference in the funeral industry and helping grieving families through such a difficult time. Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story.

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