Morris the sheepdog comforts mourners at Wetaskiwin funeral home

He was meant to just be a family pet, but Morris the sheepdog has found his true calling: helping those grieving over the loss of loved ones at his owners' funeral home.

Canine has uncanny ability to know who is most in need of comfort, owners say

'Just a dog's instinct,' says funeral home owner

7 years ago
Duration 0:59
A funeral home in Wetaskiwin recently brought on a new employee - he's a comfort to those grieving and happens to have a tail.

Morris stands out among the other employees at the Baker Funeral Chapel.

He's a bit shaggier and a lot shorter. Instead of receiving a paycheque, he gets compensated with biscuits.

But Morris, a Polish lowland sheepdog, has a skill that makes him an invaluable employee -- he has a knack for comforting those dealing with loss.

"I can't explain how or why, it's just a dog's instinct," said Jason Wombold, who along with his wife owns both the funeral home and Morris. 

"I don't know, but he will seem to seek out the person who just needs it, who needs that smile, who needs just a comforting furball to pet."

The couple didn't expect to put Morris to work. When they got him a month ago, he was meant to just be a family pet. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision the day after adopting the dog: the pair didn't want to leave him home alone, so they brought him along to work.

When they got to the chapel, Allie Wombold said Morris immediately zeroed in on a woman who was grieving the loss of her husband. 

"I was thinking, 'Oh how rude, interrupting them,' but he went right to her," said Allie.

Soon, Morris was working his way through the woman's entire family, Jason said, allowing himself to be petted. Cuddling with Morris seemed to comfort the grieving family in a way that nothing else did.

"He was born to be a funeral director," Jason said. "He's just such a neat character."

Soon, Morris became a regular part of the staff at the chapel. Every day since then, he comes into work, greeting the staff and comforting those who have lost loved ones. His human co-workers are not the only ones who are excited about his new calling.

"When we're ready to leave in the morning, he's at the door, he's wanting to go, we open the door he heads right to the car," Jason said. "If we could find a suit and tie for him that would fit, he'd probably love to wear that as well."

The couple said they are now looking into getting Morris licensed as a therapy dog.


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