Lulu, a therapy and comfort dog for the families of Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services, unexpectedly passed away on Mar. 10.
In 2015, Lulu the golden doodle, became Westchester’s first therapy dog to serve families in a funeral home. Like those used in hospitals and nursing homes, Lulu acted as a source of comfort and love in times of emotional distress.
Families who requested her presence could soothe their grief by stroking her soft fur or merely enjoying her supportive companionship.
“Lulu created such a strong bond with our families that some would refuse to have the funeral if she wasn’t there,” said Matthew Fiorillo, president and owner of Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services. “That’s how impactful her presence was for people who were going through a difficult time.”
A fixture at both funeral home locations, Lulu was well-known and well-loved by everyone in the Westchester community. Her sweet, outgoing nature touched the lives of all she came into contact with and contributed a gentle presence to the funeral home.
Though her passing was unexpected, Lulu leaves behind a lasting legacy of caring for and supporting others during their time of grief.
“Lulu was a trailblazer for therapy dogs in the funeral profession,” Fiorillo said. “We think her example will influence other funeral homes to bring on comfort animals, and she certainly set the standard for all future therapy dogs at Ballard-Durand.”
Lulu’s presence will be greatly missed by both Ballard-Durand staff and the Westchester community, but the memory of her dedicated life of service will continue to live on.