Meet Neji...the funeral home therapy dog! As the number of families who choose to have Neji at funeral services increases, we wanted to take a moment to explain what we have done to insure that those that walk through our doors are greeted by him in a safe manner, and why he is here.
First off, Neji is a local boy straight from the Perry County Humane Society, where he lived nine months prior to joining our family. Neji is fine tuning his training and in the process of getting certified through his trainer Misti Funk with Ready Set Sit Canine Training out of Elkville. He will be taking his AKC K-9 Good Citizen test, and is polishing up all of the requirements to become certified as a Therapy Dog. We have worked with him diligently to insure that he is not only loving and kind, but well behaved. We don't approach guests, we let them approach us. We choose to keep him on a leash at all times, as well as use a gentle lead and vest. This is his "work uniform". When he has his work collar and gentle lead on, he knows he is working.
Yes, he is a big boy, but if you talk with the families and those that have seen them in action they will tell you that he is a gentle teddy bear who just wants to provide love and comfort, which brings us to why he is here.
No one is too young or too old to experience the love Neji gives. We have seen him lay on the lap of a crying adult who was sitting in the middle of our floor, lean in to hug someone in a wheelchair, and comfort children who did not understand all of the emotions in the room and just needed to laugh and play.
While not everyone chooses to have Neji present, he will be offered to every family that comes to us. Often times we will hear that the family member who passed was not a “pet person”, but once we explain that he is here to comfort those that are here to mourn and make things just a bit easier for everyone, they “get” the why and are glad that he is here. We have not had one family say they wished they had not used Neji, on the contrary we have heard every time how much he helped and what a great service it is that we are providing. Not to mention all of the positive comments we get from people coming in for visitation or just stopping by the funeral home. Most recently we have had people ask where Neji was if he was not at the door during a visitation.
We get it, not everyone is going to love seeing him at the doors, and will bypass him and not embrace his love. That’s ok, we do not expect that every person wants him here but we hope that everyone understands that if he is here it is because the family chose to have him. Either way, if a family chooses to use the him or not, we will continue to provide the best service possible, taking care of their loved one with dignity, kindness and respect.