Funeral homes are often painful places where we experience our deepest grief as we wish goodbye to loved ones. But today, many funeral directors are seeking to ease the pain of mourners by enlisting the help of therapy dogs.
These special therapy dogs are uniquely trained to offer emotional support to those who are grieving, and their presence at funeral homes across the country has already brought comfort and solace to so many people. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) does not have an exact number of funeral dogs, but they say the number has increased in recent years.
Mochi is one such dog. The Bernese mountain dog pup is being trained to serve as a “grief dog” for patrons of the Macon Funeral Home in Franklin, North Carolina. Here’s a picture of her, posted to Instagram by owner Tori McKay at @thisoldchickencoop.
Yes, at just two-and-a-half months, this special puppy is already learning how to be a therapy dog for this truly sacred purpose. McKay is also the office administrator for the funeral home, and she says that she has wanted to bring a therapy dog on staff now for a decade.
“I decided I want to make an impact on our community more than ever, and I think this is an opportune time for me to do that,” writes McKay in her blog on the Macon Funeral Home website. “Bernese Mountain Dogs do not have long life expectancies — six to eight years is typical — and I want her life to hold as much purpose as possible.”
The Macon Funeral Home has already started advertising her services, as shown on its Facebook page:
When Mochi is a bit older, she will receive extended training for grief therapy dogs in Asheville, North Carolina, but for now, the cuddly pup is making herself a fixture at the funeral home under McKay’s tutelage.
Grief therapy dogs can be beneficial to mourners as research shows that petting an animal can help lower blood pressure, release endorphins and promote feelings of calm and well-being. Over half of the people surveyed by the NFDA recently said they would be interested in having a therapy dog at a funeral service. Looking at Mochi, we can’t disagree!
Here’s a video of this adorable pup in a playful moment:
Here’s wishing Mochi a long and cuddly career as a therapy dog!