How Therapy Dogs Help the Grieving: Oliver’s Legacy

Did you know your pets are incredibly good for your mental health?

The Harvard Health Blog has reported that a number of different studies, stretching back to the 1980s, show that all pets, but perhaps especially dogs, have a positive influence on the physical and mental health of their owners. Interacting with your dog can lower your blood pressure, help you recover after a heart attack, reduce asthma, and improve your sense of wellbeing and self-esteem.

Mark Krause with his grief therapy dog, Oliver. Read more on
Mark Krause with Oliver

Sigmund Freud reportedly knew this before research confirmed it. He loved dogs, and it’s said he often had his beloved Chow Chow, Jofi, by his side during therapy sessions with patients. He believed Jofi put his patients at ease, allowing them to open up to him more freely.

This kind of help is especially needed in a time of loss. There are so many decisions to be made about the service and the burial – it can really be overwhelming, even when working with compassionate and knowledgeable staff like we have here at Krause. In difficult times, the unconditional affection a dog brings can truly be a balm on a hurting heart.

This is something we’ve seen firsthand at Krause Funeral Home. Oliver, our trained, on-staff therapy dog, provided that kind of healing right here at our funeral home for years. The beloved pet of Joan Krause and Nicole Krause, he helped countless family members relax as they made arrangements. He would offer affection to them that would ease their pain. Our hearts were broken when Oliver passed away on December 26, 2011, at the age of 10. He is missed every day, by all of us here at Krause, but his legacy lives on. He taught us so much about what pets can offer to the those who are grieving. We are looking forward to having a therapy dog to offer our families again, as Bennie is currently being trained as our new therapy dog. It’s important to us to help all of our families begin the healing process after a loss.

Today, hug your pet a little bit closer, and think about the ways they brighten your life and even make you healthier. If you don’t have a pet, it might be a good time to consider making a visit to your local animal shelter.

Do you have a pet? If so, what have they brought to your life? Tell us in the comments below.

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