CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Koch Funeral Home in State College is offering support to grieving community members with a therapy dog named Monroe.

Monroe is certified by Therapy Dogs International and is trained to provide comfort.

“It is difficult to walk through the doors of a funeral home,” Jackie Hook, spiritual director at Koch Funeral Home said. “Some people have never been in a funeral home before and they’re also feeling a lot of grief from the loss they’ve just experienced.”

Hook said a visit with Monroe could alleviate some of the pain that comes with grief.

“You’ll feel it when you go up to touch Monroe, to pet Monroe,” Hook said. “Your whole body reacts in a positive way.” 

The comfort is backed by research that shows petting a therapy dog lowers anxiety, stress, and depression. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes your muscles, and releases those “feel good” hormones.

“This is giving back to the community for me,” Karen Keller, Monroe’s owner said.

Keller and Monroe are spreading unconditional love at funeral homes, churches, and schools.

Friday, August 26 on International Dog Day, community members had the chance to visit the funeral home from 2:30-4:30 p.m. to meet Monroe.

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If your organization would like to spend time with Monroe, you can reach out to karpediemaussies@comcast.net.