Petey the Dog Nominated by Bear Creek Funeral Home

CIA Petey

It’s not uncommon to see volunteers and their therapy dogs visiting senior homes, hospitals and care centres, helping ease the pain and loneliness the residents and patients face there.  A new growing trend is finding these animals in funeral homes helping those dealing with the loss of a loved one and easing the stress of planning the final arrangements and saying goodbye.  At Bear Creek Funeral Home, located here in Grande Prairie, this role is filled by their resident comfort dog Petey.

Over a year ago, Doug and Eunice Friesen, the owners of Bear Creek Funeral Home were thinking about getting a dog but with opening a new business and working long hours it did not seem possible.  Then the idea struck that if they could find the right canine, the animal could not only enrich their home life but also help benefit the grieving customers at work. Upon a visit to the SPCA they found a Staffordshire-Terrier mix, who seemed to match what they were looking for.  After having SPCA staff bring him out to the reception area at the shelter to see how he acted with strangers coming and going.  The Friesens saw he had the right personality and was perfect for both their home and organization so they decided to adopt Petey.

Knowing that not everyone is a dog person and Petey can be intimidating to some people at first glance. So the staff keep Petey in the upper offices where he patiently waits to be invited down to visit.  The staff will usually ask if families would like to meet him but his presence has been requested over the phone prior to their visit more than once. He has even been invited to attend memorial services by families to help guests at such an emotional time.  Petey is also great with children and according to Heather Gallaher-Rowe, Bear Creek’s Administrative Lead “he loves to play and be around them.”  When the white terrier with black markings is on duty his calming aura is easily felt as he sides up to the grief-stricken he seems to know how they feel in that moment and how to react to comfort them by placing his head on their knee or a licking of their hand.  Dogs like Petey are a rare and special breed and thankfully he was rescued from the SPCA so he can help people not only at Bear Creek Funeral but also by visiting Points West where “Grandma” lives.

We at the Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau would like to thank this four-legged volunteer and give him a pat on the head for comforting people in their time of need.  For more about Petey and Bear Creek Funeral Home go to you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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