Texas Hill Country News

Texas Puppy Trained to Become First Funeral Therapy Dog in Our State

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Tony Maples Photography


Confronting the death of a loved one publicly at a funeral is one of the hardest things many people have to do. Though the traditional social gathering can help some grieving family members, it can prove to be hopelessness difficult for others. But there’s a new way that funeral homes can provide a bit of relief for funeral attendees – by having a funeral therapy dog.

Last year, the Huffington Post ran a story on a goldendoodle who’s considered to be a “staff member” at Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services. “Such a subtle distraction is a comforting thing for families,” Matthew Fiorillo, the owner of Lulu the therapy dog and a funeral home, said.

Now, a funeral home in Austin, Texas (Affordable Burial and Cremation Service) will welcome the state’s first official funeral therapy dog, a beautiful black and white pup named Kermit. “You see that as a hand will go out to pet him, it’s like an immediate sigh of relief. I’ve seen it over and over again, whether we’re at a funeral or a nursing home or somebody has just passed away, he is there to be a calm presence,” Melissa Unfred who works at as a mortician told KVUE. She picked Kermit out from the Waco Fuzzy Friends rescue, and coincidentally, he seems to understand sadness and mourning, even at a young age.

Kermit is still technically in training to become a grief therapy dog (which he will become after his first birthday passes), but he already has his good citizenship certification. “Not only is he helping those that are going through death and that journey, he helps the caretakers, too — including me!” Unfred told the news.