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

    Firefighters battling California wildfires visited by Kerith the therapy dog

    Battling wildfires can take an emotional and physical toll on firefighters, but a two-year-old golden retriever has come to rescue, relieving stress and providing comfort to firefighters on the front lines. Kerith is a certified crisis response therapy animal through a nonprofit organization, Pet Partners. Kerith and her handler, Heidi Carman, started volunteering at MarinHealth […]

    Read more

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more