One funeral home director's dog bears out the research on pets lowering stress and takes it a step further.
As Science of Us reports, Melissa Unfred adopted Kermit, a border collie and Australian shepherd mix, to help manage her own stress levels at work at the Affordable Burial and Cremation Service. However, she found he intuitively moved toward and even snuggled with whichever person in a group was most in distress.
According to Robert Falcon, the owner of the funeral home, Kermit has in the past helped bereaved clients stay calm enough to make arrangements for their lost loved one. After seeing these behaviors, Unfred sent him to the Austin Dog Alliance to get his "therapy dog" certification. This included training for a variety of high-stress situations including loud or unpredictable environments. For the work he does though, the right reactions cannot all be taught, and he seems to know them anyway.
Although Kermit's successes are no wide-scale clinical study, they are encouragingly in line with prior and developing research on the benefits of pets helping to confront difficult emotions.