GRIEF THERAPY DOG

Nero, Grief Therapy Dog

Nero is the Needham-Storey-Wampner Theropy Dog. He is a registered black Labrador retriever that was born on July 2, 2015.  He has been working as a certified therapy dog with NSW since February of 2016.  Before working at NSW, Nero completed my Companion Dog Training Course where he trained with Master K-9 trainer, Julie Case, with Ultimate Canine Dog Training in Westfield, IN.  He belongs to a local club called “Love on a Leash”, where he visits health care centers, schools, libraries, and many other organizations to bring smiles to faces.

Being around people is what Nero enjoys doing the most.  When he is working, Nero greets those who come in and he tries to put a smile on the faces of our families that are grieving.


Grief Therapy Dog?

That’s right, a grief therapy dog. This is a dog that acts as another employee, greeting and comforting clients in their time of need. Some have said that once it’s been on the job a few months, a grief therapy dog becomes intuitive about who wants the attention and who does not. Even going so far as to seek out someone that is most in need of its services!

So why is this effective? Scientists have proven that petting animals will reduce stress, lower blood pressure and a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher concluded in 2004 that it will even create a hormonal response that raises serotonin levels which help fight depression!

Because basic interactions with a dog have such profound benefits, dogs come naturally to the role of grief therapist. Some of these dogs are true professionals and have undergone extensive training while others simply fall into the role. Either way, the benefit to the humans they comfort are the same.

RUFF TIMES: HOW THERAPY DOGS HELP THE GRIEVING

Written by Jenny Goldade


When grieving families feel overwhelmed with emotions, therapy dogs provide some comfort and support while they’re coping with their loss. For this reason, many funeral homes have therapy dogs to help families through funeral planning and the funeral service.

Although the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) doesn’t currently keep a record of how many funeral homes in the United States own therapy dogs, they’ve seen an increase in the last few years.

Benefits of Therapy Dogs

According to an NDFA survey, more than half of survey participants said they would either be somewhat, very, or extremely interested in having a therapy dog at a funeral or memorial service. Therapy dogs allow those grieving to receive some comfort and relieve their stress and anxiety for a bit.

This is especially true for grieving children who may not be comfortable talking about their feelings with adults. Therapy dogs give them someone to talk to and comfort them during an emotional and possibly confusing time. They comfort children and other grieving people by sitting at their feet or resting their head on their legs.

Mood Boosters

Not only do dogs provide comfort, they also help improve our overall mental and physical health. Petting a dog increases serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain, which improves our mood by lowering stress, anxiety, and depression. Stroking a dog also lowers blood pressure and helps those who are feeling lonely, which could be the case for someone who lost a loved one.

Since those who are grieving may experience these emotions, therapy dogs make the perfect companion to help ease them.