A five-year-old chocolate labrador called Dolly could soon be helping grieving Melton people cope with the loss of a loved one.
Julie Thomas, the dog’s owner, is working with local undertakers to offer her pet as a kind of bereavement counselling service.
She hopes people will benefit from being able to talk to Holly about their feelings and to use her as a distraction from the devastation of having a partner, a parent, a child or a close friend pass away.
Julie, who lives in Melton, told the Melton Times: “This is a therapeutic service I am offering.
“It’s a way of people being able to talk to Dolly about their feelings without fear of being judged.
“I tell my dogs all sorts of things and it can really help to relieve stress.
“Dolly can just sit with people because she is a lovely dog and she makes you smile and she can act as a distraction.
“She can also be taken out for walk, for example, by an elderly couple who may have lost their own dog.”
Julie (42), who also works as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic and as an emergency first responder in the Melton area, added: “The service will be whatever people want because Dolly can help bereaved people in so many ways.”
Julie’s Paws For Comfort service will be publicised by word of mouth, she says.
Her businesss cards have been left with town undertakers, Richard Barnes, Shane Mousley and Melton and the Vale in Mill Street.
Shane Mousley, who has helped Julie design her leaflets, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and it will really help people to cope.
“I do think it will take off because there are a lot of animal lovers around the Melton area.
“It will be really good particularly for people who can’t keep pets because they live in flats or sheltered accommodation but this would enable them to get one-to-one contact with an amimal.”
For more information about the service email Julie on firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Facebook page titled ‘Paws For Comfort’.