Funeral home hires Labrador Retriever as “Bereavement Care Dog” to help families cope with their grief

Lilo is there to greet the mourners and provide a feeling of ease.


Dogs make all the difference in the world. They are not only loving and friendly, but compassionate and caring too. Everyone who has ever owned a dog can say that these special animals have feelings more profound than anyone else. They are capable of feeling sadness when their humans are sad, and happiness when they see their owners smile.

Knowing just how important canines are to humans, the owners of a funeral home in Pennsylvania, the Soxman Funeral Home, decided to help the people who have lost a loved one cope with their grief by hiring the beautiful Labrador Retriever named Lilo as a “Bereavement Care Dog.”

Lilo is there to greet the mourners and provide a feeling of ease.

Anna Nesbit, the funeral home’s director and co-owner, spoke of Lilo and told WTAE: “She just has a way of bringing some warmth to a really sad time. She just looks up at you with those eyes and the families take that all in and you just watch them take a sigh of relief.”

Lilo was one of a litter of eight bright puppies who all grew up to be service dogs. She was trained by Perfect Fit Canines Service Dogs and the moments the funeral home owners laid eyes on her, they knew she would be the perfect fit for the job.

“She has a very sweet, gentle disposition which very much suits the needs of a funeral home,” Anna said in Facebook live video. “After some extensive training… we started to introduce her to some of the families around here during the services.”

Lilo’s job isn’t to distract people from mourning, but to help with the “intimidating feelings” some people have when they need to visit a funeral home.

One person who witnessed Lilo’s ability to provide comfort is Clyde Boyd. At the funeral of his 95-year-old mother Agnes Boyd, the deceased’s great-grandchildren were afraid to enter the funeral home, but Lilo did her job at the best of her ability.

“The part I really noticed was the great-grandchildren, they were very nervous and it was the first time they ever experienced anything like that, and she definitely made a difference, loosening them up, letting them be themselves,” Clyde told WTAE.

Lilo is happy she is surrounded by humans who need her. At the funeral home, she has her own place to sleep and a bunch of toys. When she’s not on the job, she splits time between Anna and the funeral home’s co-owner Brian and their families who love her unconditionally.