Funeral home enlists Bernese mountain pup to serve as grief therapy dog to comfort families

This funeral home in Franklin, North Carolina, is hoping to add a new furry member to their grief support team – an 8-week-old Bernese mountain dog named Mochi.

Last month, Macon Funeral Home made the delightful announcement on its Facebook page. In the post, it revealed that the dog “loves people and loves to sleep.”

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Tori McKay, Mochi’s mom, says that she is currently training to offer emotional support to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

“The Bernese Mountain Dog is a very loyal, affectionate and gentle animal, and has always been my choice for a potential grief therapy dog,” Tori wrote in a blog on the funeral home’s website.

“They have a history of being excellent therapy and support dogs, which comes from their kind disposition and laid-back personalities.”

Photo Credit: Callie Lynch Photography

For a very long time, Tori has dreamed of having a grief therapy dog at the funeral home – 10 years to be exact. Her goal is to do funeral visitations with Mochi when families request her, so she can bring an element of comfort to a particularly sad occasion. Tori also plans to visit nursing homes with Mochi during the evenings every couple weeks or so.

When she turned 30 on January 4, Tori decided to follow through with her long-standing dream.

“I wanted to make this decade of my life more about others than about myself. I really enjoy helping people,” Tori, who is also working as the funeral home’s office administrator, said. “I want to start focusing on my community.”

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Bernese mountain dogs do not have long life expectancies – most of them only live for 6 to 8 years. With that, Tori wanted to make sure that Mochi will live a purposeful life.

So far, Mochi has been well-received by the funeral home’s customers, with most of them requesting time with her. Tori understands that not everyone is a “dog person,” so the pup is only available upon request.

“But everyone that comes in has requested that she sit with them,” Tori said. “She brings peace into the room and you can see how she makes people relax so that they can open up and feel more at home.”

Photo Credit: Callie Lynch Photography

Once Mochi is between six months and one year old, Tori will be sending her to Asheville, North Carolina, for her formal obedience training. After her first birthday, she will undergo professional therapy dog training to become certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She will need to pass three tests in order to become a licensed therapy dog.

Until then, Tori will be socializing and training her in the funeral home.

Although Mochi is a working dog at the funeral home, Tori makes sure that she is still spoiled with lots of love, play, and rest – all the things that a very good girl deserves!