Andy Beaulieu died last year on his wedding anniversary of a sudden heart attack.
After experts could not revive him, his dog, Sadie, laid beside him on the floor nuzzling his hand.
“After the death, she showed signs of depression, would not eat and waited for him to come home everyday,” said Jeremy May, president of Elements Creation and Pre-planning & Burial in Willoughby.
When staff from Elements attended the family home in Abbotsford, Sadie was there.
“She sat with us as we made arrangements,” said Jeremy May, Elements’ president.
That’s when the family told of Sadie’s deep connection to Andy and asked if the dog could attend the funeral which took place late last year in Langley. They adopted her at about eight weeks old.
“She calmly walked in [to the funeral]. She did not have to be forced,” May said. “She spent a few moments there and then she calmly walked out.”
When Sadie put her front feet up on Andy’s casket, May took a photo for his widow.
“She’ll need this as part of her journey,” he thought.
He said the energy in the room was “amazing” when Sadie came in so calmly and said her farewell to her human.
It’s not the first time Elements has had pet requests, so far all for dogs. It’s one of the few funeral firms that allows pets at services.
“It’s very clear that dogs do register our emotions and their own,” he said.
Recently the funeral home asked the family if it could put the picture on its social media because the staff found it so touching and was told yes.
May said his widow has found comfort in having the keepsake photo.
But then the image went viral. The funeral home has had calls from media around the world.
“Literally within 20 minutes [of the posting], the calls were coming in,” he said.
May added that his widow has been somewhat overwhelmed by the response but Elements and the family have been touched by the outpouring of sympathy for Sadie and support for the importance of pets in people’s lives.
Before the funeral, Sadie had stopped eating and lost about 10 lbs. She was not herself. After saying her goodbyes to Andy, she ate a big meal and is slowly returning to her old self, the family reported to the funeral staff.