SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT SHOWS GRIEF THERAPY DOGS ARE THE BEST
In recent years, more funeral homes are adding grief therapy dogs to their teams. Grief therapy dogs help their client families feel at ease and provide comfort. Typically, funeral homes choose hypoallergenic breeds like Labradoodles or Poodles.
These pups go through extensive training, so they are ready to serve families while on duty. There are many stories that prove these dogs are beneficial to families, however, if you’re not convinced, we have scientific evidence to back it up.
Below is scientific evidence that proves having a dog around is beneficial for families (and anyone who loves dogs in general). After reading this, your funeral home will be signing adoption forms before you know it!
They Lower Levels of Stress
It’s been found that simply gazing into a dog’s eyes increases our oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and is likely responsible for the emotional bond humans and dogs can have. In addition to feeling these warm, fuzzy feelings, dogs can also lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.
By having a dog around that families can pet and enjoy, you are helping them cope with the stress of losing their loved one.
They Are Mood Boosters
One study found that dogs can provide social support, which leads to many psychological and physical benefits for people. Dogs can boost their owner’s self-esteem and improve their overall well-being.
While someone is grieving, they need all the mood boosters they can get. By having a friendly dog around, you’re helping them feel more at ease.
They Are Good for Your Heart
Studies have found that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and relax muscle tension. In fact, a study found that heart attack patients who were pet owners had a higher rate of survival one year later.
Many families are anxious to enter a funeral home and with anxiety comes an increased heart rate. They are dealing with grief and feelings of the unknown. Any comfort that you can provide will help them feel less anxious.
They Keep You Active
This aspect may not benefit your client families, but it will benefit you! A study found that on average, dog owners walk 2,760 more steps a day than non-owners. Oftentimes, funeral directors have a hard time fitting regular exercise into their days. With a grief therapy dog, you’ll have no more excuses!
Thank you to Lexie Graf of Frazer Consultants for her generosity in lending Serenity Alliance this article.