A crematorium in Nottinghamshire has introduced one of the first comfort dogs in the country to its team.
Maisie, an eight-year-old Shih Tzu, has joined Rushcliffe Oaks crematorium, where she has already won hearts with her trademark green bow tie.
The crematorium, which is operated by Rushcliffe Borough Council, hopes that Maisie will provide much-needed emotional support and a momentary distraction for people who are coping with grief. Local funeral directors and celebrants are already appreciating Maisie’s work at the facility.
Pet therapy is becoming popular in the UK, where trained dogs are brought to those experiencing complex emotions, such as grief, to comfort them during difficult times. They are becoming increasingly common at funerals, where they support those who are struggling with the process, don’t know what happens at funerals or have a fear of funerals.
Comfort dogs can provide companionship for people as they arrange a funeral or cremation, and may even attend the service at the family’s request.
Cllr Abby Brennan, the deputy leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, has been to see Maisie’s heartwarming impact on her new workplace.
She said: “Maisie is a fantastic asset to Rushcliffe Oaks and a very friendly face for everyone. It’s delightful she can come out and give people fuss and cuddles when they may need it most.”
Maisie is owned by Rushcliffe Oaks manager Rhonda Churchill, who has expressed her pride at Maisie’s success.
Rhonda said: “The reception Maisie has been given has been nothing but positive and we have started getting requests for her to attend funerals or when people are coming to look around the facility.
“It takes the edge off and gives that little distraction so when you’re talking through arrangements or you’re about to have a service that is particularly sensitive, it just takes that focus away for a few moments.”
Image © Rushcliffe Borough Council