A Grief Therapy Dog (Like Our Dog, Butler) Provides Comfort During Grieving

It’s becoming widely understood that a grief therapy dog can be a source of comfort and support when grieving the loss of a loved one. While most funeral homes have not yet introduced a grief therapy dog into their services, Stillinger Family Funeral Home has had ours, Butler, in service to families since 2009. Since then, he has offered unconditional comfort and a much needed sense of peace to hundreds of mourners. Butler now has a little “brother” named Harley who is in the process of becoming a grief therapy dog for families at Stillinger Family Funeral Home as well.

The Unique Emotional Support of a Grief Therapy Dog

Sometimes called companion dogs or comfort dogs, a grief therapy dog like Butler can provide non-judgmental emotional support during the very difficult time of saying goodbye to a recently deceased loved one. We’ve found this to be true for both children and adults. Indeed, it can be quite an experience to witness the subtle wave of calm that comes over mourners when Butler enters the room. While no grief therapy dog can remove the pain of loss completely, a comfort dog like Butler can temporarily provide a much needed brief distraction during grieving.

Is a grief therapy dog simply a service dog in a funeral home? No. Unlike service dogs, who are often trained and skilled in helping disabled people with physical tasks, a grief therapy dog may have a keen sense of knowing when someone needs comfort, and a unique calming ability to help people find emotional relief.

Butler, Our Grief Therapy Dog

Butler is an AKC Registered Golden Retriever who has been with us at Stillinger Family Funeral Home since he was four months old. While he is not a certified grief therapy dog, he has received much of the same specialized training for socialization skills required of certified Canine Companions for Independence. Butler is named after the English “family butler” that typically serves a family. When we saw that Butler was a true natural at his job as a comfort companion, we knew his name was perfect.

Mourners at Stillinger Family Funeral Home find Butler to be a warm, easygoing and lovable extension of our funeral home staff. Butler is available upon request to families during arrangement conferences, visitations and services. Many families ask for his presence at visitations; and you may find him warmly welcoming guests in the foyer when asked. Butler’s duties also include occasional appearances at elementary schools, where he anchors our grief therapy and knowledge program for children.

Click here or contact us today at (317) 462.5536 to learn more about Butler. (And stay tuned – we’ll share more about Harley soon.)

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