NAMPA, Idaho – Sadie is a golden retriever, a family pet and the Alsip and Persons Funeral Chapel comfort dog.
Her duties include running one lap around the entire funeral chapel upon entering each morning, greeting new and familiar faces, napping in her favorite purple chair in her parents’ office and providing comfort to families grieving after a loved one’s death.
Scott and Samantha Glover with the Nampa funeral home got the idea for a comfort dog from a friend in Ohio who owns a funeral chapel. The comfort dog, which requires no certification, was a hit there, so the Glovers decided they wanted to provide people with the level of comfort only a dog can provide.
The Glovers, whose home away from home is the funeral chapel, wanted other families to feel at home, too, when they came there, Samantha said.
The couple got Sadie on Oct. 2, and by Oct. 3 she was already wandering around the funeral chapel where she would be working each day.
“We wanted her to get acquainted with people,” Scott said.
Sadie is now 4 months old and weighs 26.6 pounds. She enjoys sleeping, but the moment the funeral chapel doorbell rings, she runs straight to it to greet new faces.
Comfort dogs such as Sadie are meant to lift spirits of grieving family members, lessen depression, reduce anxiety and allow people to talk to someone who will keep their secrets.
Going into a funeral home can be scary, Scott said, so having a comfort dog there can help reduce anxiety and fears that many people might have.
But Sadie not only helps grieving families, she helps the funeral chapel staff, too.
“You’re just having a down day, and then she comes around the corner,” Scott said. “It’s hard to be sad after that.”
According to the Glovers, in Sadie’s two months of work, about 30 families have loved her so far.
And Sadie loves people back. She loves new families, along with families who visit her often. She loves her parents and the employees at the funeral chapel. Sadie especially loves children. And contrary to dogs depicted in movies, Sadie even loves the mail lady.
Upon entering the funeral chapel, families can expect Sadie – a sweet, overjoyed, golden retriever – to greet them.
By the time a family’s funeral arrangement is over, which Sadie usually attends, families are asking if they can take Sadie with them. Though she loves new people, she enjoys going home to play with her sister Sophie, an English labrador, at the Glovers’ house after her nine-hour workday.
Sadie still has some training in her future. Often, she stays on a leash during the busy work hours when families are in and out. When she learns a few more manners, she’ll be allowed to walk around without a leash, Scott said.
Sadie will likely begin training classes when she is 6 months old.
“It’s more training for us than Sadie right now,” Samantha said.
As part of Sadie’s job, she will eventually attend funeral services. So far, she has attended one by accident.
While Scott and Samantha were ushering people out of the funeral chapel, Sadie came out of the office carrying a tissue in her mouth and walked up to a grieving family member, Scott said.
Sadie is going to be good at her job.