Therapy Dogs Are Bringing Love To Grieving Humans In Funeral Homes

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

June 18, 2015

When you’ve lost a loved one, sometimes it seems like nothing can make you feel better. That is, until you get a cuddle from a therapy dog. The special kind of relief that pups can bring is a major reason why funeral homes are increasingly using therapy dogs as part of their service.

Sandy Del Duca, a woman who recently made funeral arrangements, explained her experience with a therapy dog to ABC News: “She seemed to know just what I needed. A funeral is a funeral, it’s not a great thing. But that dog gave the service a family atmosphere and made it more of a celebration.”

funeral home dog

If you’ve ever had an awkward family reunion, you know that a dog can brighten the mood and give people something light-hearted to talk about. This effect is immensely helpful during a funeral. In fact, dogs can oftentimes sense who needs their attention the most.

Mark Krause, a funeral home director in Milwaukee, told ABC News that he once witnessed a seven year old boy, who had stopped speaking after he lost his three year old sister, immediately open up when the home’s therapy dog approached him.

“This little boy tells the dog, ‘I don’t know why everyone’s so upset, my sister said she’s fine where she is.'”


Lulu, a funeral service dog who has been working in White Plains for over a month, is especially devout to her work. According to Matthew Fiorillo, her owner and the director of the Ballard-Durand funeral home, Lulu can even “pray” on command by bowing her head between her front paws while leaning on a kneeler. In fact, the service dog is so professional that she even has her own business cards and sends Thank You notes to children she meets.

As Fiorillo said, “My purpose was to take a tense, uncomfortable situation and ease the tension a little bit.” He definitely succeeded.

To see Lulu in action, check out this video below:

H/t ABC News

Featured image via @thedoginabag

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

June 18, 2015