Comforting Families: Virginia funeral home introduces emotional support dog

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Those working at Bucktrout of Williamsburg funeral home do their best to make this space comfortable for families who lost a loved one.

There’s classical music, soft lighting and Benjamin Doodle Bucktrout, the newest member of the team.

Benjamin is an emotional support dog for those who need a little extra relief from heartache.

The staff loves dogs and figured, why not?

“It kind of all started out as a joke and we were asking for a dog and we weren’t told no, so I made a power point presentation on why we need a dog here in the funeral home and then, here he is!” said office manager Lindsay Lamb.

Benjamin started working with his trainer when he was about 11 weeks old. He works with her about three times a week.

“He’s learning manners. He’s learning to sit, to stay, not to jump on people, come when called , no licking,” Lamb said.

He’s slowly being worked in to funeral arrangements.

Funeral Director Diane Compagnone-Twist said, “Now though, he kind of just hangs out at the ceremony and kind of sits there, lets people pet him, give him love.”

Benjamin isn’t just making history for the funeral home, he also carries a piece of history in his name.

“His name is Benjamin Doodle Bucktrout after Bucktrout funeral home. And Benjamin Bucktrout was the founder of Bucktrout in 1759. We’re the oldest continuously operating funeral home in the united states,” Lamb said.

Benjamin’s success here has also inspired their sister chapel in Virginia Beach to get an emotional support dog named Radar.

They believe the hard work to train the dogs will pay off.

“We all know dogs are intuitive with emotions and knowing when people are sad,” Lamb said.

They believe these sweet dogs will help people through some of the worst times in their lives.

You can follow Benjamin’s story at this link.

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