Puppy With Exceptional Empathy Skills Is Training To Be The First Therapy Funeral Dog In Texas
Meet the Funeral Therapy Dog Who Helps Mourners Process Their Grief
Kermit — full name Widdle Kermit Ambrosius von Przygodski — is a border collie and Australian shepherd mix and if you want to cry into his fur — well, he’ll stand there calmly and let you. After all, that’s what he’s here for.
From the minute I met him, he seemed way too chill for a puppy,” says Melissa Unfred, Kermit’s owner and a funeral director in Austin.
"That temperament has been one of the main distinguishing traits of Kermit ever since." The two have been training to become a dog-therapy team; as of May 20, Unfred and Kermit are the first certified owner–therapy-dog pair handling funeral services in Texas.
Kermit is a stabilizing force in the face of death and has a very unique behavior when he is at the funeral home:
His demeanor would start to fit perfectly with the situation," Unfred said. "A lot of people have been really surprised that he's not hyper. You see that as a hand will go out to pet him, it's like an immediate sigh of relief. I've seen it over and over again, whether we're at a funeral or a nursing home or somebody has just passed away, he is there to be a calm presence."
The business’s owner, Robert Falcon, sees the impact Kermit has on the customers
"When he shows up, he calms the room. Sometimes, when someone starts to break down in his office, Kermit seems to come in at just the right time. When I'm sitting there at the desk with the family going through a tough moment, he will come up and introduce himself. He will just sit and have a presence. He has a knack to find the person who is hurting the most"
Watch Kermit in action:
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