Throughout history, dogs have earned the reputation of being man’s best friend. Continuing this legacy are Katie and Paisley, two nationally certified therapy dogs that provide care for people undergoing difficult times. Employing these two dogs is Tim Brown. A member of the local funeral industry and co-owner of Ric Brown Family Funeral Home and Brown Family Funeral Home. Their goal is “to be there and love the people” while providing dignified services for individuals of “all walks of life,” said Brown. Part of the emotional support available is the therapy dogs that they have implemented. Paisley and Katie. Therapy dogs have been carefully chosen and trained to comfort many people. They must have the appropriate temperament and be comfortable dealing with new and different people regularly. Accompanied by handlers, they go into various settings, such as nursing homes, schools, accident sites, funeral homes, and hospitals. Unlike emotional support dogs, they tend to many people rather than only treating one individual or service dogs specifically trained to help an individual with their disability.
Therapy dogs are some of the latest trends in the funeral industry, but for Brown, his inspiration to implement them was seeing their positive impact firsthand.
“During the tragedy that happened at Uvalde. I was able to go and volunteer my time. There was a therapy dog and I saw what the dog could do with all these children coming to the funeral home;” I said, “you know that’s something I want a part of.”
“Paisley is an “Australian Labradoodle. She’s a miniature. So, she’s not going to be as big as some of the other dogs you see. It’s not going to be like a pony coming up to you.”
As of Sept. 2023, Paisley has only been working at the funeral home for a short time, but she has proven her ability to make a difference. Her daily task is to go around the chapel and funeral home with a handler, consoling people.
“She’s very easy to pet, and she just gets your mind off the situation. One thing about a smile is that it’s hard to smile when upset. So, once you start smiling, it just changes your whole attitude, and I think anybody out there realizes that it doesn’t matter how depressed you are. Once you turn that frown upside down, things just change. That’s what Paisley does. She has a tendency of bringing a smile to people’s faces,” said Brown.
Before providing solace and comfort to people, Paisley had to undergo training. For Brown, the process to receive Paisley was a lengthy one. They first had to contact a company specializing in raising and training therapy dogs. Brown had to become a certified handler so Paisley could enter public spaces.
“We started the process a year ago. You fill out how Paisley is going to live, the type of job you anticipate her doing, how many kids live in the house, other animals, and how they are trained. I mean, it’s serious; it’s almost like adopting a child, the amount of work we had to go through. They ended up training her from birth until she was nine months old,” said Brown.
Brown emphasizes that Katie and Paisley are not just there for the funeral services but for the people of the Valley as a whole.
“We can take her into nursing homes, schools, you know, anywhere that the need is for her, and that’s one of the things that we want to stress, that she’s not just here for the funeral home. She’s here for our community. If a situation arises, give us a call,” said Brown.
To learn more, visit their website at ricbrownffh.com or call (956) 583-6333.