FNH Funeral Home welcomes grief therapy dog
CENTREVILLE — Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral Home welcomed a new member to their staff, Friday, Sept. 30. Pearl is an Aussiedoodle who joins FHN family as a grief therapy dog. Kirk Helfenfien, president of FHN, said Pearl fit perfectly with his father Tom Helfenbein’s commitment to, “helping families heal.”
Pearl will be the only certifed grief therapy dog in the state of Maryland, said Helfenbein, and it is hoped that she will bring healing to families in need.
Jenn Chance, managing director for FHN, traveled to West Virginia to pick up Pearl and will participate in her training process and provide a home for her when she is not working. At just 10 weeks old, Pearl was incredibly lovable and laid back, Chance said.
“She was meant to be a therapy dog,” said Chance. Pearl will participate in companion school a program offered by Kettering through the K9 Academy in Easton.
Families will be able to request Pearl be a part of visitation at any of the FHN locations, although her home base will be at the Easton location.
“If families aren’t dog people, that’s OK, too,” said Helfenbein. “We just want them to know they have the option.”
“We are hoping to promote many avenues to help with grief and begin the process of healing,” said Chance, “Pearl will help us to do that in a new way, many times people can connect to an animal when they don’t have words yet to express their feelings.”
When her services are not required at FHN, Pearl will work with Talbot and Compass Regional Hospice and Pets on Wheels, Chance added.
FHN ran a contest prior to Pearl’s arrival asking the community to help pick a name for her. More than 300 responses were received, said Helfenbein, adding, many of them very good suggestions and a few that were a lighter response to the grieving process.
Kathy Campbell of Kingstown was chosen with her name of “Pearl,” said Helfenbein because of the quote she included with her entry.
“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” Stephen Holler.
“That quote really spoke to us,” said Helfenbein, and he added, “Everyone knows oysters that make pearls are indigineous to the Eastern Shore, so we know the name and Pearl is going to be a very good fit for us.”
Campbell received a $100 gift card and chose the Animal Welfare League of Queen Anne’s County to receive a donation of $250 in her name from FHN, also.
Campbell who works for the Department of Health and Social Services in Adult Services was invited to meet Pearl. She was joined by two of her co-workers. “Kathy [and her name choice] was a perfect pick,” said co-worker Norah Cannon, “she goes into difficult situations every day and makes people so at ease ... making connections, it couldn’t have happened to a better person.”
Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam has locations in Centreville, Chester, Chestertown, Easton and Millington.
From left, Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam President Kirk Helfenbein, Kathy Campbell holding Pearl, and Jennifer Chance, FHN Managing Director.
Pearl, an Aussiedoodle, joins Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam as a certified grief therapy dog in training.