FNH Fu­neral Home wel­comes grief ther­apy dog

Record Observer - - News - By HANNAH COMBS hcombs@ches­pub.com

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.

PHOTOS BY HANNAH COMBS

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.

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