Meet Anubis and Anput, the newest members at the Putnam family of Funeral Homes – Bertram Funeral Home, Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls, and Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory, LLC in Kingsland. Anubis and Anput are in training to become grief therapy dogs. Their initial training includes acclimating to various people and situations and as such, they will be rotating between the three Funeral Homes. Anubis has already shown his aptitude as a grief therapy dog as he will sit next to anyone feeling uptight or grieving and rest his head in their lap. Anput, on the other hand, prefers to sleep most of the day. As the entire training process can take 1-2 years depending on the dog, a facebook account has been created to allow people to follow their journey – https://www.facebook.com/anubisandanput/. At the end of their training, we expect Anubis and Anput to be available for pre need and at need funeral planning, visitations, celebrations of life, services, and for community outreach.
The Alliance of Therapy Dogs provides more information about how therapy dogs offer comfort at funeral services at www.therapydogs.com. Accordingly, “therapy dogs allow those grieving to receive some comfort and relieve their stress and anxiety for a bit. This is especially true for grieving children who may not be comfortable talking about their feelings with adults. Therapy dogs give them someone to talk to and comfort them during an emotional and confusing time. Death is difficult enough for many adults to understand, let alone trying to make some sense of it for children.
Not only do therapy dogs provide comfort, they also help improve overall mental and physical health. Petting a therapy dog increases serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain, which improves our mood by lowering stress, anxiety, and depression. Petting a therapy dog also lowers blood pressure and helps those who are feeling lonely, which could be the case for someone who lost a loved one.
Therapy dogs have the innate ability to sense a person’s emotional needs and act on them with unconditional love. Since those who are grieving may experience many of these emotions, therapy dogs make the perfect companion to help ease anxiety and confusion of death. It can simply be the therapy dog’s presence that distracts from stress and grief, even if for a moment or two. The power of a therapy dog to change the mood of a room is amazing, and funeral directors are discovering how to promote healthy healing in people who are grieving the death of a loved one.
According to Jessica Koth, public relations manager for the National Funeral Directors Association, “Therapy dogs have an amazing ability to put people at ease in a very emotional and difficult situation,” Jessica says. “I’ve heard of families coming into a funeral home to make arrangements for a loved one’s funeral, and when the therapy dog comes into the room, the mood changes and the family begins to open up and share their loved one’s story so the funeral director can help them understand how to plan a meaningful funeral. She adds that some funeral homes also use their therapy dogs in the grief support groups they offer.”
Anubis and Anput are rescued Labrador/Great Pyrenees mix puppies who are very laid back and gentle.