Sign In


April 1, 2020

While Clearfield’s Seth Beardsley was studying at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science — from where he graduated in the fall of 2018 — one of his instructors had a therapy dog at the funeral home he owned.

John Elachko, who owns John N. Elachko Funeral Home in Pittsburgh, has a therapy dog and taught Beardsley quite a bit about what the dogs do in a funeral setting.

Beardsley’s father Kevin had also talked about getting a therapy dog for Beardsley Funeral Home and Crematory in Clearfield, but never moved forward with it while Seth was away at college and mortuary school.

But with the younger Beardsley now back in Clearfield full time as a licensed funeral director, the time was right to look into a therapy dog.

Enter Charlie (also known as Chuck), a 9-month-old Australian Shepherd/Corgi mix.

“My plan with my dog is to have him trained to be a certified therapy dog to be here for grieving families at the funeral home,” Beardsley said. “He still has a lot of training to do, and can’t become certified until he is at least 1-year-old. He is still getting familiar with the funeral home and isn’t here all the time yet.”

Beardsley, who has had Charlie since August, also wanted a pet to keep him company.

“I got Charlie because I had been living on my own for about a month and decided I could use a companion in the house,” Beardsley said. “But also with the plan of having him become a therapy dog.”

Charlie has already done some basic obedience training, going to a few group classes at Waggin Trains when he was a little puppy before recently taking a two-week training session at K-9 University.

“He’s a very smart dog and reacted well to the training, but still has a ways to go before he’ll be at the funeral home full time,” Beardsley said. “Once he’s ready, I can have him tested to become a certified therapy dog.”

Besides training to be a therapy dog, Charlie has a long list of favorite activities.

“When he’s not training, he enjoys playing with his ball, chewing on his bones, going for walks, getting treats, and being a good boy,” Beardsley said.

Once Charlie is certified, he will be available to be at any of the services offered at the funeral home to help console grieving families.

“Every family will have the option to have Charlie present at a visitation, funeral, etc., where he will be present for short periods of time throughout to provide comfort to those who are grieving,” Beardsley said. “Petting a dog increases serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain, which can lower stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which people grieving could be feeling.

“Charlie will also be available to be at the arrangement conference for all the same reasons.”

Beardsley says Charlie can also provide joy to members of the community when he isn’t comforting grieving families.

“When he’s not at the funeral home, I can do things like take him to nursing homes to visit the residents to brighten their days,” Beardsley said.

The addition of a therapy dog is something he thinks will be a welcome addition to the services already provided by Beardsley Funeral Home and Crematory.

“Charlie loves people, and we look forward to having him available to comfort the families we serve,” he said. “We will keep everyone updated of his progress on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

“I walk him quite often around town, so if anyone sees us and would like to meet him and pet him feel free to stop us. We strive to continuously improve our services and we think Charlie can help us do that.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more