Who do you turn to in times of emotional distress? For many of us, our dogs are a bottomless source of love and support. One funeral home in Southwestern Virginia was inspired by a dog’s love. They decided to hire a golden Labrador as a grief therapy dog.
A Brilliant Idea
Oakey’s Funeral Service is a well-established business in Roanoke, Virginia. The funeral home opened its doors in 1866. Now, Oakey’s is using a canine to support its clientele through tough times. Sam Oakey, the son of the owners, graduated college and began working as the assistant manager at Oakey’s downtown Roanoke location. He thought it would be a good idea to bring a grief therapy dog onboard.
Enter Ragnar Oakey. This Lab often looks like he is smiling as he walks through the city streets. He is a calm, sweet, and loving canine. The perfect pal to help someone cope with loss.
Sam Oakey told WSLS, “There’s no guessing what their motives are, no ulterior motives. No hidden agendas. Pets are just true love. He is just always happy to share his presence and rest his head on someone’s lap and just lay next to you.”
A Wonderful Pooch
At first, Ragnar’s presence may have caught patrons off guard. But, Sam Oakey quickly observed Ragnar’s soothing effect on grievers. He said,
“Everyone was a little surprised at first. It’s kind of not the first thing you are expecting, but it just kind of puts a smile on everyone’s face right off the bat. There have been so many times where people have laid on the ground for 30 minutes, just stroking him, talking to him, just being with him and have said how much it helped.”
Recently, Ragnar completed obedience training. He earned a Canine Good Citizen certificate, the first step toward becoming a Certified Grief Therapy Dog. Now Ragnar’s training is nearly complete.
Any family using Oakey’s funeral services in Roanoke can request Ragnar’s support. There are no additional fees for Ragnar’s emotional care. What a generous offering! It’s no surprise this pup is extremely popular.
Sam Oakey said, “I joke, well it’s not really a joke, he gets more requests than I do. Not many people know who I am, but he gets requests every day from families.”
Oakey’s adores Ragnar so much, they placed a portrait of him on the wall. Sam Oakey said, “He’s just as much as part of the family as anyone. I look forward to many years of sharing him with the valley because he is a true blessing to all of us.”
Meet Ragnar in the video below. You can follow his training journey on the Oakey’s blog.
Featured Image: Oakey’s Funeral Service & Crematory Facebook Page
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