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Grief Therapy Dogs

We are happy to welcome Monroe and her handler, Karen Keller, they are available to provide companionship and comfort at visitations and services

Thank you to WTAJ and the CDT for their support in introducing Monroe to our community and sharing her story.

Monroe is certified by Therapy Dogs International and is trained to provide companionship and comfort. As the Therapy Dog International website says, “…understand and experience the joy of what it means to benefit from the all-encompassing love of dogs!” Karen and Monroe generously offer their time to bring this love to families experiencing the loss of a loved one. 

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Benefits of Therapy Dogs

Studies have shown what many have intrinsically known, petting a therapy dog lowers anxiety, stress and depression; it makes you feel better. Your heart rate and blood pressure go down, your muscles relax and your levels of feel-good hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin increase.

Words often fall short after a death, but comfort can be found simply by spending time with a therapy dog.  The mood of the room can change with a dog’s presence. These benefits have been realized in hospitals, nursing homes, other institutions and more recently in funeral homes.

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Monroe and Karen's Story

Monroe is an American Kennel Club (AKC) registered Australian Shepherd. She was born to a breeder in Georgia and when Karen went to choose a puppy from the litter, Monroe came running up to Karen and chose her. Karen picked the name Monroe because of her curiosity with American actress, model, comedienne and singer, Marilyn Monroe. She went with the last name because it felt strong. Karen quickly learned that Monroe was an “easy dog to work.” Monroe was potty-trained by the time they had driven home from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Karen continued to train Monroe and they became certified by Therapy Dogs International in 2016. Since then the two of them have been offering their services throughout the community. Karen has been especially touched by Monroe’s interest in being with people who are mourning. We at Koch have noticed this as well. In one of our grief education and support gatherings, without being asked, Monroe went around a circle of participants and interacted with each one. If two people were talking, she went by them and then returned to them later. It was a moving experience for all!

We invite you to experience the unconditional love of Monroe! To schedule Monroe and Karen for a service, simply talk to your funeral director and they will check the availability.