Helping people with anxiety, grief, and depression are part of the profession of a funeral director. Some funeral directors however, have found grief therapy dogs to be a great addition to their funeral home in order to support families.
The use of dogs in therapy is proven to be beneficial for interpersonal interactions and moods across all ages. Interaction with dogs significantly reduces cortisol levels, which triggers anxiety amongst other things. According to an NFDA research 34.5% of Americans are extremely or very interested in having a therapy dog at a funeral or memorial service. Upon request families can make use of the therapy dogs for emotional support. Which is why a grief therapy dog could be the next best addition to your funeral home or office, a place filled with emotions on a daily basis.
Grief therapy dog training
Grief therapy dogs go through extensive training where they learn various demands and how to interact with strangers, from being petted or brushed, to dealing with emotionally heightened environments.
Breeds used for grief therapy are generally famous for being barkless, loyal, gentle, affectionate and friendly. Labrador Retrievers might the most most well known breed used as therapy dogs, however Bernese Mountain Dogs seem to be popular among funeral homes.
Meet Mochi and Fiona two Bernese Mountain grief therapy dogs
In Franklin, North Carolina, Macon Funeral Home recently added a new member to its team, a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Mochi. The dog is currently in training but is expected to help grieving families in the near future. Office admin Tori McKay has dreamed for over 10 years to bring a grief therapy dog into the funeral home. Tori mentions: “It’s my goal to work funeral visitations with Mochi when families request her, and I would also like to make visits to nursing homes in the evenings every couple weeks or so.”
Having a grief dog at a funeral home can also help in connecting to the local community. Fiona, a Bernese Mountain grief therapy dog from Brooklyn, New York is the star of Marine Park Funeral Home’s social media channels and brings a smile and comfort to just about every client and social fan.
Sooner or later everyone will get to deal with grief and death care professionals are there for support. Even though the loss of a relative or close friend hits everyone in a different way a grief therapy dog might just be the right way to help some people with their grief as a dog can touch people’s hearts in a way people sometimes can’t.