Some funeral directors have started working with grief-therapy dogs to help their clients when they visit the funeral home with some therapy dogs even attending funerals.
About Pet Therapy
Pet therapy, sometimes called animal assisted therapy (AAT), is interaction with a trained animal, accompanied by a handler, to improve the mood and wellbeing of the person receiving the therapy. The majority of therapy animals are dogs or cats, but Shetland ponies, alpacas and even lambs can provide pet therapy.
A therapy animal must have a calm and friendly temperament and be comfortable interacting with strangers, who might not have had much experience of pets. Recently, some funeral directors have started using-grief therapy dogs to help people after a loved one has died. These dogs are generally owned by the funeral director and attend the funeral or memorial service at the request of the family.
How Do Grief-Therapy Dogs Help?
Grief-therapy dogs only attend funerals at the request of a family. Grief-therapy dogs can provide a calming presence for people, especially children, who are attending the funeral. They can also relax people who have never attended one before and don’t know what happens at a funeral or who have a fear of funerals. Grief-therapy dogs can also be helpful for supporting a bereaved child who has lost someone very close to them, especially if they are going to speak at the funeral.
A therapy dog can provide mourners with exactly what they need during this stressful time: comfort and the chance to relieve some of their tension and anxiety. Stroking an animal has physiological effects. It increases a person’s serotonin and dopamine levels, which can boost mood, and it helps lower stress and blood pressure. Grief-therapy dogs can also immediately put people at ease.
How To Get Your Pet Certified
Do you have a funeral home pet ready for the next step, from emotional support to Therapy Dog? Many cities have local non-profit therapy groups that offered proper training to certify the dog as a legitimate therapy dog. Try a quick Google search for “therapy dog certification” and see what pops up. Many of these organizations will provide classes and certifications for your new Therapy Team.
While programs can differ, there are a few standard rules to note:
1. Pups must be at least one year old.
2. There can be no history of aggression.
3. Enjoys petting and handling by a wide variety of people.
4. Is calm and can focus on you when another dog is nearby.
5. Is predictable and controllable in all situations.
The benefits of a grief-therapy dog are limitless! Explore the therapeutic power of dogs and see how they can provide additional comfort for your clients at your funeral home business.
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