According to the internet, more and more funeral homes in the USA are bringing therapy dogs on board as part of the staff. The idea being that these dogs help mourners to better handle the unpleasant day. The death of a loved one can be such a sorrowful affair that we don’t really know how to react ourselves, let alone how to comfort those who have most suffered the loss.
It’s like we become self conscious – Will a hug set them off? Will my words offer any comfort or express my sentiments correctly? Do they just want some space? What do they need? How can I help?
Whilst we may not know what to say or do in these sombre situations a dog doesn’t need to do anything but trot into the room. A dog’s mere presence can break down the awkwardness, and lighten the often tense atmosphere. Children often find comfort in the company of a dog and are able to express themselves to a furry friend more easily than to a parent.
The calming and soothing effect of a companion dog cannot be disputed. I have thankfully not attended many funerals but I certainly hope that this therapy dog trend is adopted widely in the UK. It sounds like a brilliant way to help mourners deal with a difficult time.
If you’ve personally experienced the benefits of a therapy dog at any point please do let us know in the comments.