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Grief dog helps to comfort mourners in Iowa

Mourners at an Iowa funeral home are getting help dealing with the loss of a loved one from a 1-year-old Goldendoodle who is always ready to lend a comforting paw.

This special pooch has found a home at the Mitchell Funeral Home in Marshalltown where he is the “ambassador of grief.”

"He is a calming presence here," Mary Drake, the dog’s owner and the funeral home’s business manager, told the Marshalltown Times-Republican

Gabriel is a registered service dog, one of only two grief dogs in Iowa. He’s been comforting mourners since December.

“Just having someone to talk to, sometimes with families, they may not be able to talk to each other -- they could use him as their intermedium," Drake told the newspaper. "'Remember when Dad had a dog' or 'Remember when we had a family pet.' It's a way of opening communications with them."

On command Gabriel will kneel against a flat surface with his head down. His release is "Amen."

"He's the only dog I know that can pray," Drake told the paper.

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