Other Options to Hasten Your Death


Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED)

To voluntarily stop eating and drinking means to refuse all food and liquids, including those taken through a feeding tube, with the understanding that doing so will hasten death. This is an option for people with terminal or life-limiting diseases who feel that with VSED their dying will not be prolonged. One of the advantages of this decision is that you may change your mind at any time and resume eating and drinking.

The US Supreme Court has affirmed the right of a competent individual to refuse medical therapies and this includes food and fluids. This choice is also commonly accepted in the medical community.

Before You Start

You must prepare to voluntarily stop eating and drinking. It’s not something that can or should be started the day it is first discussed.

  1. Talk with your physician to let them know of your plans. Talk with your physician about all your medications, and ask if a sedative or pain medication will be available to keep you comfortable.
  2. Complete an Advance Directive stating in writing that voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is your wish. Have your physician sign orders to withhold life-sustaining therapies and all resuscitation efforts.
  3. Talk with friends and family members who might care for you during this process early about your wishes and why you may want to take this course. Their support is crucial. However, beware that for many people families are often opposed to VSED and can pose a barrier.
  4. Finalize your business and financial affairs, make funeral and memorial plans, and gather your family members to share memories and say your good-byes.
  5. If you reside in a care facility, discuss your wishes with the staff and nursing director. You will need the staff to provide support and assistance.
  6. If you are already receiving hospice care, your team can help you prepare. If you are not on hospice, ask your physician for a referral to a local hospice provider. Usually hospice will provide supportive care once you start the process.
  7. If your illness is not one that is likely to cause death within six months, arrange for a psychological evaluation for depression and decision-making capacity by a mental health provider. This will reassure family, physicians, and others that your mental status is sound and this decision well considered.


You can live for a long time without eating, but dehydration (lack of fluids) speeds up the dying process. Dying from dehydration is generally not uncomfortable once the initial feelings of thirst subside. If you stop eating and drinking, death can occur as early as a few days, though for most people, approximately ten days is the norm. In rare instances, the process can take as long as several weeks. It depends on your age, illness, and nutritional status.

At first, you will feel the same as you did before starting VSED. After a few days your energy levels will decrease and you will become less mentally alert and more sleepy. Most people begin to go in and out of consciousness by the third day and later become unarousable. Hunger pangs and thirst may occur the first day, but these sensations are usually tolerable; discomfort can be alleviated with mild sedatives or other techniques such as mouth swabs, lip balm and cool water rinses.

Since dehydration will most likely be the cause of death, it is important not to drink anything once you start. Even sips of water may prolong the dying process.

I wish I could say [my father] died a gentle death. But I’m not so sure. I wish doctor-assisted death had been available to my father. I believe it is what he would have wanted.


We recommend that all medications be stopped except for those for pain or other discomfort. Stopping medications for heart problems or diabetes, for example, may speed up the process.

Finally, one of the advantages of VSED is that you may change your mind at any time and resume eating and drinking.

People who begin this process often express a sense of peace that they can finally “stop fighting.” Some people describe a sense of euphoria or pleasant lightheadedness. There is an analgesic effect caused by dehydration that may explain this response. With dehydration, people often need less pain medication, urinate less, have less vomiting, and breathe more easily due to decreased congestion.


  • Read this story, in which Christopher Stookey recounts his father’s death by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking.
  • Browse peer-reviewed, academic-journal articles on the subject.
  • Watch this video, in which Phyllis Shacter describes her husband’s dying after he decided to voluntarily stop eating and drinking:


Not Starting, or Stopping Treatment

For some terminally ill people, aggressive medical treatment may not be helpful and may prolong the dying process without improving quality of life. Under certain circumstances, treatments can increase suffering, ruin the remaining quality of life, or even shorten life.

Stopping treatment can result in a peaceful death but it may also result in increased discomfort. Consult with your physician and arrange for optimal palliative (comfort) care before stopping treatment.

Stopping treatment can be combined with hospice and palliative care or voluntary stopping eating and drinking to shorten the dying process and reduce suffering.

Palliative Sedation

For dying people experiencing so much pain or unmanageable symptoms that they cannot get relief from medications unless the dose is high enough to make them unconscious, palliative sedation provides enough medication to keep them continuously unconscious and thereby free of pain and symptoms. All nutrition and hydration is stopped, and they usually die within a few days.

People using palliative sedation should be monitored around the clock to be sure the sedation is adequate. While this intensive monitoring can sometimes be provided in the home, it is usually provided in a skilled nursing or inpatient hospice facility.

Many [people] claim that palliative sedation effectively eases the suffering of patients when other means fail to do so. However, it is an unacceptable option for most terminally ill adults whose primary concerns are losing autonomy, quality of life and their dignity.


While palliative sedation is an ethical and legal end-of-life option, it is not necessarily a right. While you can request palliative sedation, it is up to the medical provider to determine if it is appropriate. Some physicians and hospices are reluctant or unwilling to authorize palliative sedation. If having the option of palliative sedation is important to you, discuss it with your hospice or other medical provider well before it becomes necessary.

Complete Article HERE!

Healthier Alternatives to Smoking Medical Marijuana

Alternative non-smoking ways for patients to use medicinal marijuana

Some patients cannot smoke medical marijuana and need to find alternative methods.
Some patients cannot smoke medical marijuana and need to find alternative methods.

By Angela Morrow, RN

The medicinal use of marijuana is now legal in a growing number of U.S. states, and other states might eventually join this list. Some patients, however, might be unable to smoke medical marijuana because of their illness, disease, symptoms, treatments and/or other factors. This article explores the alternatives to smoking marijuana that might prove healthier or more viable for patients who’ve received a prescription for medical marijuana.

Marijuana Use for Medicinal Purposes

Requiring a doctor’s prescription and secured from legal vendors, medical marijuanacan help relieve numerous symptoms, such as pain, glaucoma, migraine headaches,nausea and weight loss.

While there are various pros and cons to using medical marijuana, it’s important to understand that the use of marijuana is not without potential side effects. For example, conventional or “street” marijuana might contain harmful fungus and/or pesticides, which can prove especially dangerous for patients with a compromised immune system.

Moreover, the fact that marijuana is usually smoked — either in cigarette form, or through the use of tobacco or water pipes — introduces additional concerns. Burning marijuana leaves and buds, for example, can produce 50% to 70% more carcinogens versus traditional or “analog” tobacco cigarettes. In addition, patients who have never smoked before, or those receiving other treatments that can interfere with their ability to smoke, might find smoking marijuana difficult or simply impossible.

I found that to be a case with a patient with whom I once worked:

Mr. C was a 79-year-old man suffering from lung cancer and COPD. He suffered from chronic bone pain, nausea and severe weight loss. He asked his doctor about medical marijuana and received the necessary prescription. When I came to see him, he held a joint, but he didn’t know how to use it. It was immediately clear that because of his inexperience, and because he was using oxygen and was already suffering from a forceful cough, smoking a marijuana cigarette would not be the best method for him.

Alternative Non-Smoking Medical Marijuana Options

It’s important to again stress that medical marijuana is a physician-prescribed treatment and should only be used according to a doctor’s instruction. If you, or someone you care for, receives a prescription for medical marijuana use but cannot smoke marijuana, your non-smoking options might include:

Edible Marijuana: Medical cannabis can be heated and made into oils, butters and tinctures. Many “cannabis clubs” sell pre-made cookies, brownies, lollipops and teas. Savvy patients — those willing to take the time to empower themselves through research and knowledge — can also find recipes to make their own marijuana tincture, oil or butter.

Eating or drinking marijuana’s main or active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is certainly preferable to many patients rather than smoking it, but these alternative methods can also create problems. When consumed via food or drink, THC does not absorb into the bloodstream as quickly as when it is smoked.

This can make it more difficult to control the effectiveness of the drug or how much is consumed. In addition, patients who suffer from decreased appetite or nausea might not tolerate eating or drinking marijuana.

Vaporizers: Another option is to inhale marijuana using a vaporizer. This method involves heating the marijuana to a high enough temperature to vaporize the THC but not burn the plant. Patients can then breath in the vapor from a bag without inhaling the harsh and potentially toxic smoke.

Vaporizing marijuana is much healthier for your lungs and also produces the highest THC content of any smoking-related method. This allows patients to use a smaller quantity of marijuana at a time, which can potentially save money.

Vaporizers range from battery-powered, handheld devices to larger plug-in units. The quality and prices of marijuana vaporizers vary widely, so it is wise to shop around and read user reviews online before purchasing one.

Ultimately, my patient found a healthier alternative to smoking marijuana, too:

Mr. C experimented with edible marijuana. He found he enjoyed the marijuana brownies he was able to get at a cannabis club, but as his appetite waned, he found it difficult to stomach the rich chocolate taste. He didn’t want to invest in a vaporizer because his life expectancy was short. However, through the people he met at the cannabis club, he was able to strike a deal with another medical marijuana patient and split the cost of a vaporizer — with the agreement that the other patient would inherit the device after Mr. C’s death. It was an unusual arrangement, to be sure, but it allowed Mr. C to continue using medical marijuana for several more weeks.

Complete Article HERE!

How to prepare for a good death


Wise words and solid advice from BJ Miller, who thinks deeply about the end of life as head of the Zen Hospice Project.

Death is an uncomfortable topic. Although we’re well-acquainted with platitudes that remind us to seize the moment and live each day like it’s our last, few of us devote real time to envisioning the end of our lives — or the lives of those we love. In contrast, this is a focal point for BJ Miller, palliative care physician and executive director of the Zen Hospice Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that’s focused on improving our experience of death. His TED Talk, What really matters at the end of life, prompted such an outpouring of response that we hosted a Q&A on Facebook to hold a larger conversation about end-of-life care, dying with dignity and providing support for patients and families. Here are just some of the questions — and Miller’s answers.

Based on your experiences, what do you find that most people really want at the end of life? – Emilie S.
In general, people yearn for comfort, for their loved ones to be well cared for, to be unburdened and unburdening, to find some sense of closure and peace. But those are generalities and I would encourage all of us to remember that dying people are living and to treat them accordingly. There is so much room for personal preference.

What are good ways to talk to kids about death? – Michelle Q.
It’s important to remember that kids are not just miniature adults. This big topic, like others, needs to be couched in their developmental stage. In general, it’s helpful to avoid euphemisms or overly indirect language. Kids are generally much straighter shooters than we adults. There is a field called Child Life Services that has a lot to say about this subject and can be a great resource.


People often say they don’t like hospitals; that mental block keeps them from spending time with someone they care about at the moment they need it most. What advice do you have for people who have a loved one in a hospital? How can each of us make that space kinder and better for the senses? – Kate T.
Little things go a long way. Bringing in photographs, familiar objects, flowers are, in my book, always wonderful. Of course, you can always bring in fresh baked cookies — even if your loved one can’t eat, engaging the senses can be potent. Those are some ideas around the external space. Of course, it’s always helpful to cultivate internal spaciousness by being a source of calm.

Death is a hard subject to talk about. How do we talk about this with our families so we can plan? – Danny K.
Several US-based organizations come to mind, including the Conversation Project and the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California. Another tool that people seem to love is the card game, My Gift of Grace. At Zen Hospice Project we also proudly host “death cafes” as a social engagement, and also offer a mindful caregiving program for anyone involved in facing the challenge at end of life or anyone interested in exploring more about this topic.

How does a non-clinical person learn how to care for others at the end of life? It seems like many of us will be in that position. – Don D.
This is exactly why we created the Mindful Caregiving education program at Zen Hospice Project. Estimates are that nearly one third of American adults will either need to receive or provide care to a loved one. We realize there are very few resources to support family caregivers and “informal caregivers” and that the work can be grueling. Zen Hospice Project’s educational curriculum is uniquely designed to enhance and support the wellbeing of both the patient and the caregiver. The program’s balance of social, medical and spiritual practices enables formal and informal caregivers, doctors, nurses and administrators to experience compassion and resiliency at the bedside while reducing burnout and enhancing care.


Do you have any advice for caregivers about how they can take care of their own mental health? – Ella C.
We know from studies what works. There are two major themes for self care: one is some reflective practice, whether yoga or meditation or walking in the woods; the other is some sharing, talking, processing with people you know and trust. Especially with people who do similar work. Beyond those two major points, I would add to be good to yourself and don’t lose yourself in the role.

What do you think about end of life dialogue being considered as aphysician-reimbursed service in the United States? Given your experience, what do you think are the most important pieces of the conversation? How could physicians be better equipped to have this conversation? How could mindfulness training inform this service? – Liz M.
I’m very excited about this new legislation, both practically and symbolically. The key points are to have an open and ongoing conversation with your physician as well as your family or proxies. In fact, I think the single most important thing you can do is to name your proxy, because the situation needs to be read in real time. Remember this is not a single conversation but one that requires updates over time. Training clinicians to have this conversation is another matter and requires time: I recommend reading Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, as a great resource. Insofar as mindfulness allows us to be more present in difficult situations, it can help set the stage for a more fruitful conversation.

Do palliative health centres offer psychological or other support for families after a loved one has passed? – Kasia S.
All certified hospice agencies are required to offer bereavement services to their communities. Admittedly, these services are poorly funded and generally underdeveloped. There is so much more work to be done helping families process what’s just happened and also to protect the new tenderness they may feel as they head back into the world. On an individual basis, many psychotherapists specialize in grief counseling and can be wonderful resources. On our way to developing more formal programs, we happily receive family members long after the death of their loved ones to revisit the house and the Zen Hospice community.

Can you offer resources for education material, guides for conversations and so on in languages other than English? – Julien G.
A great place to start would be to reach out to your local hospice or palliative care organization. You may also check with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Center to Advance Palliative Care or the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. You are pointing to a real need for cross-cultural understanding on the subject.

 Complete Article HERE!

Medical Marijuana Could Save Medicare $470 Million Annually, Study Shows

Is medical cannabis the answer to lowering prescription drug costs and reducing opioid-related overdose deaths?

By Sean Williams


This could potentially be a groundbreaking year for the marijuana industry.

In November, residents in up to a dozen states could be voting on whether or not to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. This comes after Pennsylvania and Ohio passed laws legalizing medical marijuana in their legislatures this spring. As it stands now, half of the country has legalized the use of medical marijuana, and four states (plus Washington, D.C.) allow for the sale of recreational marijuana to adults ages 21 and up.

Arguably just as exciting is the possibility that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency could reclassify medical marijuana in a matter of weeks. The Food and Drug Administration has already submitted its opinion to the DEA, with the DEA now conducting its own investigation into the safety of medical marijuana. If the agency were to reclassify medical marijuana as anything other than schedule 1, which means an illicit drug, medical marijuana could be prescribed by physicians, and insurers may even begin covering the substance.

But that isn’t all. The good news just keeps streaming in for the cannabis industry.


Cut Medicare’s expenditures with… medical marijuana?

Last week, Ashley Bradford and David Bradford, both of the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia, published findings that examined a possible correlation between medical marijuana prescription use in legal states between 2010 and 2013 and Medicare prescription use under Part D over the same timeframe. The authors’ work can be found in the online journal Health Affairs.

What the study authors found was a correlation between medical marijuana prescription use and lower prescription drug use under Medicare for ailments commonly treated by medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana is legal. For instance, medical marijuana is often prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, nausea, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. In states where medical marijuana is legal, the authors found a marked reduction in Part D expenses for FDA-approved drugs to treat these ailments. Prescription drug use under Medicare Part D for ailments that medical marijuana isn’t used for did not see a drop in these same medical marijuana-legal states.

What’s more telling is the amount of money the authors calculated that medical marijuana saved Medicare Part D in 2013. Per their estimates, it was about $165 million. According to the authors’ extrapolated estimates, they believe a nationwide legalization of medical marijuana would result in about $470 million saved annually by Part D.

One final positive is that no marijuana overdoses have led to any deaths. The same can’t be said for opioids, which are commonly prescribed as painkillers. Opioid overdoes, which include heroin, killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, and at least half of all of these deaths involved a prescription opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thus, it’s possible that if cannabis were incorporated into the care regimen for seniors, or all patients for that matter, it could reduce the costs for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as prevent unnecessary opioid-related overdose deaths.

Hold your horses

But before you get too excited that medical marijuana will save Medicare and Medicaid, keep a few things in mind.

First, saving money is great for Medicare Part D, but we’re talking about $470 million in savings on an estimated $88 billion in drug spending for 2016, per the Kaiser Family Foundation. Don’t get me wrong, saving money would be a good thing for the Medicare program, with the Hospital Insurance Trust expected to deplete its spare cash reserves by 2028. But we’re really only talking about one-half of one percent based on 2016’s spending estimates. With prescription drug costs seemingly rising by a mid-to-upper single-digit percentage each year, medical marijuana isn’t going to be Medicare’s white knight.

Secondly, we have no clue what the DEA is going to do with marijuana when it makes its ruling in the coming weeks. The DEA could decide to do nothing and leave it as an illicit schedule 1 substance. It could also de-schedule the drug completely, putting it on par with tobacco and alcohol, which seems like a longshot.

More reasonably, the DEA could reschedule medical cannabis as a schedule 2, 3, 4, or 5 drug, implying that a medical benefit exists, but suggesting that addiction to the substance exists, too. Labeling cannabis as a schedule 2 drug could prove to be a nightmare for the industry, with regulatory costs soaring. Schedule 2 means the FDA coming in and controlling package labeling, ensuring that manufacturing standards remain consistent, and potentially requiring medical marijuana companies to run clinical studies to support their claims that cannabis treats certain ailments. A rescheduling may be a victory in name only for the cannabis industry.


Finally, we still have federal restrictions on the cannabis industry, which are making life tough, if not impossible, for investors trying to take advantage of marijuana’s growth. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill don’t look anywhere near ready to change their tune on marijuana, which means inherent disadvantages for businesses involved in the cannabis industry will continue for the foreseeable future.

For starters, access to basic financial services is hit-and-miss. Only 3% of the nation’s roughly 6,700 banks are currently willing to work with cannabis-based companies for fear of federal prosecution down the line. This means few businesses have access to business checking and savings accounts, or lines of credit to buy product and expand.

Additionally, marijuana businesses get the short end of the stick come tax time. IRS tax code 280E, in its simplest form, disallows businesses that sell illegal substances from taking normal business deductions. As long as the marijuana plant is considered an illicit substance on Capitol Hill, cannabis companies will be paying tax on their gross profits instead of net profits, thus forking over far more than they should in taxes. It’s simply not an investor-friendly environment.

Although things appear to be moving in the right direction for cannabis, you’d be wise as an investor to avoid the industry altogether until these inherent disadvantages disappear.

Complete Article HERE!

Choosing funeral music

By Barbara Chalmers

Choosing funeral music

When it comes to choosing funeral music, there are no rules, lots of options and plenty of help from Final Fling.

Beatles or Beethoven? Elbow or Elgar? King Singers or Kings of Leon? Frankie Vaughan or Frankie Goes to Hollywood?

Get Final Fling’s Top 10s for ideas for choosing funeral music:

These cover:

Funerals, memorials and life celebrations these days are as likely to feature disco divas as death marches. Monty Python’s tongue-in-cheek Always Look on the Bright Side may be your idea heaven or hell.

The best thing is to chat to those closest and involved in arrangements to try and settle on a ‘playlist’ that works for everyone.

Capture your favourites on your Wishes in Final Fling so others know what you like. Your idea of an uptempo number might be just the thing to set the tone but at the time of loss, it might be harder for others to make that call.

Tips for choosing funeral music

Think about mood and tone throughout the ceremony and build a simple soundtrack of four or five pieces of music or songs that allow for celebration, reflection, grief, goodbyes… maybe even joy and laughter.

You may also want to think about music for the wake or after-funeral gathering… a ‘mixed tape’ that allows for some reflection and some celebration. See 3 classicsthat work well in the mix. Think about live music too. There’s some great Scottishfuneral music… like Highland Cathedral (also popular for weddings). Somehow bagpipes and traditional instruments feel very poignant.

Timing funeral music

A  Traditional Funeral  in a crematorium lasts 30 minutes. You can use that time whatever way you want but if you’re sticking with the usual convention, these are the typical elements of a funeral or ceremony in a crematorium to help you think about music length and timing.

We’ve marked slots where you’re likely to be choosing music for a funeral. Depending on how many elements you have, each music slot will be around 2-3 mins long.

1. Guests arrive – MUSIC
2. Words of welcome
3. Music/ reading – MUSIC
4. Person’s story
5. Reflection – MUSIC
6. Reading/words
7. Commital (when the curtains close / coffin is lowered ) – MUSIC
8. Guests depart – MUSIC

See our guide to who does what at a funeral.

More resources for choosing funeral music

See Songs for Funerals or Funeral Helper for a library of funeral music and hymns.

Get more ideas from The Guardian’s Six Songs of Me.

Copyright and recorded music

Depending on the crematorium or venue and how up to date their music system is, you may need to have a copy of the original music to be allowed to play it. The wonder of Amazon is that you can download just the one track and make up your own ‘mixed tape’ for a fueneral. If you are supplying a CD, the crematorium usually expects you to provide the disc at least 24 hours before to check it works on their system. You should have all the music clearly marked on it with any instructions on timing.

Complete Article HERE!

27 heartwarming pics of a man taking his dog on a farewell trip

By Alicia Barrón

Robert is making sure Bella lives out the rest of her days as a happy dog.


When Robert Kugler found out his beloved chocolate lab, Bella, had cancer — he knew what he had to do.


Robert adopted Bella as a puppy. She’s now 9 years old, or about 63 if you’re counting in human years.

In May, a veterinarian told Robert that what he initially thought was a shoulder injury was actually cancer and that it had spread to Bella’s lungs. The doctor had to amputate one of Bella’s legs and told Robert she had three to six months to live.

That was 14 months ago.

Determined to show Bella the same kind of unconditional love she had shown him throughout her life, Robert hit the road to give her the farewell tour of her doggie dreams.

He tells Upworthy it’s not everyday you get to just pack up, get behind the wheel, and go, but after losing two siblings in nine years, he began to look at time as being much more valuable than money.

As for Bella, he says, “She teaches me lessons every day, and I am so blessed to spend my time with her.”

Here are 27 of the most heartwarming photos from Bella’s farewell tour:

You can’t put a price tag on the type of love, loyalty, and companionship a pet provides, and these incredibly moving photographs prove it.

The bond between Robert and his “Bella girl” is truly special. In spite of Bella having cancer and only three legs, Robert says, she begs to be in the car nearly every time she’s awake.

You can follow this dynamic duo’s road trip adventures on Robert’s Instagram, and he says they’ve got no plans of slowing down anytime soon because “right now … sharing the love of this dog with the world has become my new purpose.”

Complete Article HERE!

Funeral Home Gets A Therapy Dog To Help Clients Cope With Grief

By Dina Fantegrossi


Experiencing the loss of a loved one is devastating. It is the most stressful, disorienting and agonizing event we can suffer through. For some, the process of planning and attending the memorial services for their deceased companion is more than they can bear.

One White Plains, NY funeral home has found a way to ease that burden, if only for a short while.


Ballard-Durand Funeral Home has an extra staff member who provides a special kind of comfort to grieving clients. Her name is LuLu and she is a therapy dog. The majority of the facility’s clients have heard about their one-of-a-kind employee and specifically request Lulu’s services when they come in.


Matthew Fiorillo, the president of  Ballard-Durand Funeral Home, told NBC Today that he came up with the idea of getting a therapy dog during a particularly stressful visit to the airport. Fiorillo’s flight had been canceled and he was battling the anger and anxiety of the situation when a Maltese trotted past with its owner. Just the presence of a dog was enough to soothe his rising tension.

A wave of calmness washed over me and after it happened I was like, wow, that was really powerful!


Fiorillo began researching the logistics of incorporating a dog into the delicate practice of funeral services. Lulu the Goldendoodle officially came on board the team in May of 2015. Like many dogs, she instinctively senses where, when and how she’s needed most. Fiorillo told NBC Today:

She’ll park herself right next to an older person to let them pet her one minute and the next she’s prancing around with kids. It’s been really impressive to watch.


Lulu is a calm, sturdy beacon of support for those whose lives have spun suddenly out of control. Her presence allows otherwise stoic men to weep, and gives brokenhearted children the chance to laugh again.


Fiorillo also takes comfort in Lulu’s companionship. The funeral services profession is highly stressful and very emotional. Sometimes a replenishing hug from Lulu is just what he needs to help him release his own emotions and better serve his clients.

Humans need to touch. Even just petting her can be a subtle distraction from the tremendous amount of grief people are going through.


For those who take comfort in spirituality or the belief in a higher power, Lulu’s ability to “pray” is astonishing. Chelsea Sules lost her 25-year-old brother on June 17. Her grief was stifling, but within minutes of meeting Lulu, she found herself laughing once again. She told NBC Today:

Lulu was with us for both of the wakes and out of nowhere we see her kneeling on a bench with her head down and praying in front of my brother’s casket. It blew us away.


Want more Lulu? Visit the Ballard-Durand Funeral Home on Facebook to see more photos and inspiring messages of hope in the face of loss.

Complete Article HERE!