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Michigan funeral home therapy dog honored at open house

Posted at 3:45 PM, Feb 12, 2018

A Michigan funeral home will honor a therapy dog that comforted people as they grieved the loss of loved ones.

Betzler Life Story Funeral Home will hold an open house Tuesday for Hollie, who died Feb. 6, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported . The golden retriever worked at the funeral home for 16 years, providing comfort for those coping with death.

Holding the event is a fitting way to say goodbye to Hollie in the way she helped send others off, said Patrick Bauschke, a funeral director at Betzler

"Mention the Betzler name and chances are people will remember Hollie," Bauschke said. "She happily greeted people at the door, mingled throughout visitations and services, and offered a calming and comforting influence on those who needed her most."

Scott Betzler, Hollie's owner, was inspired to use her as a therapy dog while on the Kalamazoo Humane Society's board of directors. The organization offered pet visitation programs to nursing homes.

"It was very different at the time to have a dog in a funeral home," Bauschke said. "But Hollie made it the most natural fit. She's worked thousands of funerals and visitations and helped countless people."

Hollie completed temperance training at the humane society. She also visited senior communities and elementary schools.

Hollie had a soothing effect on people and "an unmatched sense of knowing just who needed her and when," Bauschke said.

Hollie will be cremated as part of the funeral home's Life Tails Pet Cremation service.

Ellie, an English Retriever, will take over Hollie's role at the funeral home.