Funeral Therapy Dogs a Growing Practice

Pets, and dogs in particular, have gained growing acceptance as therapy animals to help offer comfort, company and assistance to a wide range of people with varying needs.  Children with autism, isolated seniors, combat veterans and differently abled people all find they are better able to face daily life with a furry friend at their side.

And recently, therapy dogs are turning up at funeral homes to help comfort grieving families.  Children who may not be able to fully understand the events taking place or communicate their emotions following the loss of a loved one can calm themselves, just by sitting quietly with a dog.  And adults too are welcoming the budding practice of offering families funeral therapy dogs.  Having a dog come and place their head gently on a lap for a pat creates a whole different mood for mourners.  And dogs can often sense who needs their comfort most.

Studies have found that blood pressure can be lowered just by petting a dog and proximity to therapy animals can help reduce stress and anxiety.   Therapy dogs can be placed in the room during the funeral at the request of the family and are often of great help when families come in to make arrangements for their loved one.  A well behaved, gentle dog can create a familiar and calming environment, making it easier to share memories and stories that will assist funeral directors in better understanding the life of the deceased.

Many funeral homes, like Merkle Funeral Services in Michigan, have included therapy dogs in their business to help better care for their clients, especially children.  The dogs have usually received at minimum obedience training or have become certified as a therapy dogs.   Dogs that seldom bark and have a calm and loving disposition are ideal candidates to help families unburden their grief and lift the spirits of mourners.

To learn more about Funeral Therapy Dogs and dog training, visit Therapy Dogs International by following this link.