In the latest trend in America, therapy dogs are being brought into funeral homes to help comfort mourners. The four-legged friends are present when families are making arrangements and can also attend funerals and wakes.
According to America’s National Funeral Directors Association there has been a rise in the number of therapy dogs being used at funeral homes in the past few years. And it seems the idea is increasingly popular. An NFDA survey found that over half of respondents would be interested in having a dog at a funeral or memorial service.
There has been lots of research on the benefits of having pets. Stroking an animal increases serotonin and dopamine, which is known to lift your mood, and it also helps lower stress and blood pressure. Having a dog around is a distraction for people who are feeling lonely after losing their loved one, and can be great for kids who’d rather talk to a furry friend than an adult.
At American funeral homes, it’s been noticed how the atmosphere changes when a dog enters the room. The family starts to feel more at ease and to talk more openly about their loved one, which helps the funeral director to plan a meaningful funeral.
Earlier this year, after reading about the trend in America, a funeral director in Shropshire decided to take his dog into work. Basil the Beagle was such a hit as a ‘comfort companion’ that some families even requested that he attend the funeral as well. So watch this space – funeral therapy dogs might become a regular sight in the UK.
Austins are happy to discuss you bringing your faithful friend along to our branches or to the Crematorium.
* Thank you to University of the Fraser Valley for the use of this image.
* For help and support planning a funeral or cremation, please contact Austin’s on 01438 815555.