Sunday, February 21, 2010

Zoey, Grief Therapy Dog

Humans are finding new ways to allow furries to help them. We already know we're comforting to be around in times of stress and few things are more stressful than attending the funeral of a loved one. so what could be more natural than a therapy dog for a funeral home? (We kitties would like to know whether there are any therapy kitties for funeral homes? We're comforting too.)

Sharon L. Peters, USA TODAY

Most of the time Zoey the golden retriever is just a typical, good-natured family pet. She cheerfully submits to being dressed up in little outfits to play house with the three young girls who adore her. She's a regular on family rollerblading outings. And when things get a little slow around the house, she rounds up the family's socks and slippers for reasons known only to her.
But about once a week, she dons a red and yellow vest and slips into another role. Zoey is a grief therapy dog. She offers empathy and comfort to friends and relatives who have gathered at Michigan Memorial Funeral Home in Flat Rock, Mich., to say goodbye to a loved one. "It's almost as if Zoey knows that her calm presence just seems to make people who are sad a little less sad," says the dog's owner, Kelly Dwyer, whose husband owns the funeral home where Zoey has become a regular. Read the rest of the article here.

It's been a while since we've added a new design to our Zazzle store but we think you'll like the new one. There are a few miscellaneous items displaying it on the site and once it's approved by the USPO, it will be available for sale from our store as a 44 cents US postage stamp.

Saturday afternoon we learned from our friend Khyra of a woman in North Georgia whose rescue was closing down. The economy is hitting many rescues hard and funding has dropped significantly. Rescue is stressful enough, but this was evidently too much stress. She died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Most of the dogs are already gone, but there are still about 20 left at Dog Pack Rescue in need of a home. Some of them are pictured here. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of .Shari Johannes.


  1. OMG, what a tragedy, this North Georgian woman committing suicide. How awful for everyone concerned, I'm sending prayers and Light to all.

    About Zoey...This is the first time I've read of a therapy animal in a funeral home. Hospitals and nursing homes, yes. Great idea and I suspect a wonderful comfort.

    I wish everyone universal Blessings and Peace, today and always.

  2. What a tragedy. We hope the woofies will go to nice homes.

    Zoey sounds like a dog on a mission. Wonderful story to balance the tragic one.

  3. We couldn't bear to read about the lady committing suicide yesterday. Our hearts go out to her family and the doggies that were under her care. We are purring that they will all find homes.

    We thinks cats and dogs in funeral homes are a great idea. We knows we help make our beans less sad just by being there for them. ~AFSS

  4. awww that's tragic. :( I wish she could have received more help, so this wouldn't have happened. This is just so sad.

    speaking of therapy animals. There is a therapy cat whose hindquarters are disabled. Hes on a mission to help kids with disabilities. When those kids see him, they are inspired and they know they are not alone (they think "even the kitty can do it, why can't I?:). The kitty is named Scooter :). He was rescued from a car accident. Here is a picture of him and a kid with cerebral palsy

    Have a purr-fect day.

  5. We heard about the suicide and were very saddend by it. I was such a shock and a great loss to lose such a rescuer. She will be missed. Rescue is Mommy's passion and sometimes when we lose a pup like when Joey died Mommy wants to give up.

    Dave had heartworms like all the Alvin dogs but he died from distemper. If has been very hard becuase we lost Champayne from the same thing last year.

    The idea of a grief therapy dog is fantastic.

    Mona's Mommy, Sarh

  6. Animals are full of unconditonal love and great compassion for suffering; their giving souls are a gift to all that are wise enough to appreciate them...So sorry to hear about the Georgia woman and the babies she left behind=very tragic.

  7. We felt very sad to know about Shari. Our thoughts are with her family and we hope all those doggies find lovely homes.
    Zoey is awesome.
    Have a nice sunday
    Kisses and hugs

  8. Oh, gosh. What a terribly sad thing, both for the woman and the dogs in the rescue.

  9. The news about that poor woman in Georgia was just so sad. Life is just so unfair for some.

    Zoey is doing a wonderful thing, we all know how dogs are helping kids in schools, just one more example of the power of the paws.

    Woos, Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  10. That is very sad to hear about this woman. Purrs.

  11. just wanted to let you know you are the BEST! :) I am so glad that you dropped me a line to tell me what's going on on your end. That' something I really need to know so I can fix stuff right away. I am personally giving you a head bump hahah.. though i know it's nothing like my kitties head bumps :), but anyway thank you again.

  12. "Self-inflicted" is not a foregone conclusion. the matter is under investigation.

  13. This is the first time we're heard of a dog helping people at funeral homes, but it is a great idea. We hope it catches on.

  14. I have never heard of therapy animals in nursing homes. Interesting. That's a very sad post. Sending purrs and prayers to all. Try and have good day.

  15. That is so sad! I hope those dogs are adopted. I liked hearing about Zoey...she has a very important job!

  16. This is such a tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family and the doggies that are left. We hope they would all find good furever homes.

    Furries are good comforters and play a great role in helping the sick and lonely. Presence in the funeral home is a great idea.

  17. We think grief therapy dogs at funeral homes is a great idea. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

  18. Merdie gives Zoey a big golden tails up!

    Thanks fur sharing Shari's passing here - we did our leg on Sunday fur her -


  19. What a heartbreaking story - and not unlike that of a local artist here who lost it all and caved. Tragic.

  20. Zoey is doing a great thing for grieving humans.. when our mom is sad or feeling low, she claims that nothing beats holding us close because it is simply so comforting. NO words are needed, just a friendly company and a hug. Yup yup, you are right, I think therapy kitties sound like a wonderful idea too!!)

  21. Heyy JFF Gang,
    We hope that your gang is A-OK and that no on has been jumping on Jan's sore toe.
    What a combination of stories. Zoey is such an uplifting therapy dog. But we were deeply saddened and troubled that a woman who had done so much to help so many homeless animals has died. It is such a tragedy and very depressing. It has been a generally bad news last month or so. We hope that spring will bring new hope.
    - TBH&K


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