Franklin, N.C. – Meet Mochi! She’s an adorable Bernese mountain dog who will soon have a very important job. She is training to become a licensed therapy dog at a funeral home. Her job will be to comfort grieving families at Macon Funeral Home in Franklin, North Carolina.
Mochi’s owner is Tori McKay, the office administrator at the funeral home.
McKay says she’s dreamt of having a dog at the funeral home to support grieving families for 10 years. After celebrating her 30th birthday in January, she followed through with it.
McKay says Bernese Mountain Dogs are very loyal, affectionate and gentle, and the breed was always her first choice for a grief therapy dog.
Mochi will begin obedience training when she is 6 months old, and she will be eligible for therapy dog training when she’s one year old.
She can test for certification around a year and a half. Mochi will have to pass three tests in order to become a licensed therapy dog.
Currently, Mochi spends working hours with McKay at the funeral home in the office. “Socialization is key in preparing her for therapy training and allowing her to meet lots of people,” McKay told FOX59.
Once she’s certified, Mochi will be available for visitations’ at the funeral home upon families’ requests. They will also visit nursing homes in the area.
McKay says the reaction to Mochi has been very positive with patrons already requesting to spend time with her.
“The families we serve have often come back just to see Mochi again after their service is over,” McKay said.
McKay says she was inspired by other funeral homes across the U.S. that utilize comfort and therapy dogs and cats, and she hopes her story will inspire others to use their free time to do good in their communities.
“Whether they are certified or not, rescued or purebred, I believe all dogs have the ability and desire to help humans and bring them comfort,” McKay said. “Animals have the ability to love unconditionally, and I think that we should learn from them and extend that same kind of care to each other.”