Meet Lulu, a therapy dog making positive contributions in the lives of humans. Animals’ ability to positively impact people in terms of anxiety has been demonstrated innumerable times with animal assisted therapy in the treatment of PTSD patients. In one study of the effect of dogs with patients, psychologists noted an 82% reduction in symptoms. It seems only fitting that animals should continue their successful caregiving during commemorations of death with mourners during funerals.
A death ritual is an opportunity where a dog like Lulu can provide her therapy services. A gorgeous golden doodle, she’s a trained and certified therapy dog at the Westchester County funeral homes. Like healthcare dogs in service in many locations such as hospitals and nursing homes, Lulu goes to funerals and provides comfort to loved ones of the deceased. While some people don’t know what to say or do at funerals, Lulu, who is introduced to families at their request, seems to know just what they need. She takes her job seriously. Funeral director Matthew Fiorillo, Lulu’s owner, says the dog has an uncanny knack for knowing who might want to be near her for comfort. Lulu with all of her eagerness to serve has a way of replacing the anxiety some mourners feel with a calmness that makes life and death seem easier.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
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