When Lulu the goldendoodle has her vest on, she knows her job — to comfort mourners in her family’s funeral home. She even “prays” when directed, kneeling and bowing her head between her front paws.
Matthew Fiorillo offers Lulu’s services, free of charge, to every mourner who walks into his White Plains, New York funeral home. The trained therapy dog is part of a growing trend among funeral homes.
No one keeps numbers on exactly how many such dogs are working in funeral homes, but the National Funeral Directors Association say they hear more and more from their members about using animals to comfort mourners.
The trend is a fairly recent one, but therapy dogs for mourners were rare in 2001 when Mark Krause’s Portuguese water dog, Oliver, went to work in his Milwaukee, Wisconsin funeral home.
The funeral director remembers a seven year old boy who had lost his three-year-old sister. The boy had withdrawn and stopped talking, until Oliver came in — and the boy began reminiscing with the dog about his sister.
“I don’t suppose Oliver understood, but he looked at the boy as if he did,” Krause told the Associated Press.
The dog passed away in 2011, and its funeral was attended by 150 people — many brought their pets.
– Photo: WCBS video, which has since been disabled for embed.
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