Therapy Dog At Funeral Home Helps Grievers In An Amazing Way

Funerals and wakes are emotional events surrounded by depression, despair, even dread. But thanks to one employee at Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services in White Plains, New York, many visitors feel a surge of something completely unexpected: comfort.

Lulu is a people-loving Goldendoodle who works at the funeral home and brings smiles to some visitors’ darkest days.

“I walked into the funeral home and Lulu came running toward me and my sister,” said 26-year-old Chelsea Sules in a story by Today as she recalled the day of her brother’s funeral. “We (were shocked) when we started giggling. She immediately started to comfort us just by her presence alone.”

According to the story, Ballard-Durand president Matthew Fiorillo was inspired to get a therapy dog during an anxiety-inducing incident at the airport. When a cancelled flight through a wrench in his plans, a Maltese, who was walking by with its owner, completely changed his mood.

“A wave of calmness washed over me and after it happened I was like, wow, that was really powerful!” he told Today. “I started researching the benefits of having a dog around and ways to implement it in the funeral home.”

Lulu’s instinct to bring joy to the grief-stricken has made her a requested employee at many Ballard-Durand services.

“She’s developed an uncanny knack for knowing who needs her. She’ll park herself right next to an older person to let them pet her one minute and the next she’s prancing around with kids. It’s been really impressive to watch,” Fiorillo told Today.

The funeral home president says that, in this emotionally taxing line of work, Lulu even helps him in his day-to-day duties.

“She’s part of the team, no question about that. It’s clear she’s eager to be part of what we do and wants to help people,” Fiorillo said in the story.

Dogs are so amazing: they’re resilient in times of tragedy, and their capacity to love is never-ending. Lulu is another example of how dogs can bring comfort and joy to humans in a way that no one else can. Thanks for all your wonderful work, sweetheart!

Do you think more funeral homes should employ service animals like Lulu?

(h/t: Today)

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