Many can agree that animals just know when someone is upset or hurting in the way that they provide comfort in the hardest moments.
That is why at Whitting Funeral Home in Glen Head, three dogs occupy the building along with the staff. They are there for grieving families to pet, hug and provide comfort during what can be among the worst moments in a person’s life, making arrangements for a loved one.
Blase Whitting, the funeral director in training at Whitting Funeral Home, introduced the Glen Cove Oyster Bay Record Pilot to Whitting Funeral Home’s three dogs; Marve, Fin and Olaf.
All the dogs are relatively young. Marve is 11 months old, Fin is three and Olaf is 13 months old.
Fin gets excited to see people, so much so that he starts wiggling his butt, Whitting said.
“Fin’s the one that walks around the funeral home,” Whitting said. “He’s the only one that has free reign because the other ones are too young. Fin will greet people, and if someone’s crying and having a hard time, he’ll stay right by them.”
And Marve is also a very excited dog, who loves people. “He’s very toy oriented,” Whitting said. “So if we want him to concentrate on people, we’ll bring a toy down and have them play a toy with him.”
Marve will eventually get certified as an official therapy dog. Whitting has plans to bring him to the Glen Cove Senior Center.
And Olaf is the rambunctious one. He’s still a puppy, so he’s learning. “He and Marve have to stay on a leash because they’re puppies,” Whitting said. “When people are real dog people, we’ll let them all down and play around because they can get a little rough.”
Codge Whitting, the owner and the funeral director, started bringing dogs around Whitting Funeral Home in 2008.
Whitting shared that people will specifically call in advance asking for the dogs to be there when they arrive.
“The kids here will usually run up and down [the ramp],” Whitting said. “Whenever they see the dogs they just light up.”
Typically when the family arrives, Whitting will greet the family with Marve on a leash, making sure first if the family doesn’t have any allergies or fear towards dogs.
“Usually everyone just lights up and gets excited,” Whitting said. “Ninety percent of the time, people are so happy to see them.”
And the dogs are happy to be there. Whitting said Marve, which is his dog, just lights up when he tells him it’s time to go to work. In fact, he is waiting by the door at 8:30 a.m. ready to go.