Pet Therapy and Funeral Homes

funeral homes in Muskegon, MI

Pet therapy has been used in schools, hospitals, care homes, and universities all around the world. But now, many funeral directors are choosing to implement pet therapy programs in funeral homes in Muskegon, MI, and beyond. In some cases, grief-therapy dogs even attend funerals to help bereaved deal with their grief in positive and constructive ways.


Pet therapy, often referred to as animal-assisted therapy or AAT, is when a trained animal interacts with a human with a specific mood or cognitive goal in mind. Pet therapy programs were first initiated in the 1980s and involved volunteers bringing their pets to schools, hospitals, and care homes for interaction with children and patients.


The animals, most often dogs, cats, lambs, and Shetland ponies, are thoroughly trained and are usually accompanied by a handler. These therapy animals are chosen for their positions based on friendly and calm personalities as well as comfort interacting with strangers. There are even famous therapy pets, such as Norbert, an American therapy dog. There are pet therapy programs all around the world now, but it’s been only recently that funeral directors have begun using pet therapy in their funeral homes to help patrons deal with grief and loss.


Grief therapy dogs have more recently been popular as pet therapy in the United States. These dogs are usually owned by the funeral director and are brought to funerals and memorial services when requested by the bereaved. There are also new businesses and volunteer programs in which services will bring dogs to funerals when requested. A grief therapy dog’s main job is to be a calming presence at the funeral. They are especially helpful in calming and distracting children that may not have ever been to a funeral before or may be afraid of the proceedings. Grief therapy dogs can also support the bereaved through hugs, snuggles, and even calming walks.


Pet therapy is fairly new but is proving to be very effective in the United States and around the world. However, it’s important to remember that grief therapy pets, like dogs, are only allowed to attend funerals when specifically requested. There are always signs posted when a dog or another animal is in attendance at a service to warn guests that might have allergies or might be afraid of dogs. If you are considering having a grief pet at a funeral, think about the guests. If there are many attendees that would be distressed by a dog, it’s not an appropriate choice. However, if many guests would be helped by the dog, it is a worthwhile investment.

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If you are interested in learning more about pet therapy or about your options for Muskegon, MI funeral homes, just get in touch with Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care. We offer a range of funeral and cremation services at a variety of price points. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss.


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