Accompaniment until death

A loving relationship is built up through regular visits. Saying goodbye is also an extremely difficult and sad moment for the therapy dog team.
A loving relationship is built up through regular visits. Saying goodbye is also an extremely difficult and sad moment for the therapy dog team.

Teams who visit retirement homes, assisted living residences, and hospitals will eventually be confronted with death. This is especially painful when a close, long term relationship has been built up. Some terminally ill patients specify that they wish their therapy dog to attend their funeral. Maja Reiner let us know that her therapy dog Balthasar said goodbye at the grave of a retirement home resident; the dog and the resident had established a very close bond.

Yvette Traber and her dog Ambra provided terminal care; they lost six of their visited patients in a hospital during an influenza epidemic.

Claudia Knoll visited a wheelchair bound young man with cerebral palsy, and she attended his funeral with her therapy dog Kaja. She described the experience: «it was one of the saddest moments of my life.»