If you’re a cat or a dog owner, you’ll know that your furry friend is one of your biggest sources of comfort.
If you’ve had a tough day, there’s no better way to wind down than to get comfy on your couch with your pet by your side.
Studies show that it’s not just an illusion, either. Pets really do improve our health and wellbeing – in fact, interacting with animals helps reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and decrease depression.
So when one grieving little girl crossed paths with a dog, it was probably the best source of comfort she could ask for.
Raelynn Nast had always been a daddy’s girl – that was, until her father died aged just 41 on 14 April, after battling colon cancer.
Lacey Nast, bereaved wife of John David “Davey” Nast, Jr., recalled the moment that her 6-year-old daughter heard the news:
“It was a cry that was pure heartbreak.”
Funerals are tough enough when you’re a kid, but having to deal with the loss of a parent is something no child should have to go through.
Raelynn was as brave as she could be at the funeral, held at McConnell Funeral Home Chapel in Greenwood, AR.
Emily Beineman, who was jogging her dog, Blue, just happened to pass the funeral home – and heard a tiny voice that stopped her in her tracks.
Recalling the moment in an interview with CBS News, Emily said:
“She was like, ‘May I pet your puppy?’, and I was like, ‘Yeah, of course, as long as your parents don’t mind.'”
Of course, Emily had no idea of the reality: that Raelynn was at her dad’s funeral.
“The little girl did a shy little smile and said ‘Oh, my parents aren’t out here – my mom’s inside and my daddy died. We are at his funeral.”
Humans aren’t so good at comforting – we never quite know the right words to say, especially when speaking to strangers, and especially when those strangers are children.
But Emily’s dog, Blue, reacted without her even prompting her.
“Before I could say a word, Blue walked up to this little girl and ever so gently sat down in front of her,” Beineman wrote on Facebook. “The girl wrapped her arms around Blue’s neck and wouldn’t let go. This little girl’s friends and family were all surrounding us and as I looked around there wasn’t a dry eye to be found (except this little girl).”
Raelynn then asked Emily if she’d like to meet her dad inside the funeral home.
According to Raelynn’s mom, the little girl was “very proud” of her dad, and wanted to introduce him to everybody, so it’s no surprise that she still felt the same way during his funeral.
Emily knew how much it meant to Raelynn to introduce her dad one last time.
So, despite not being dressed appropriately, Emily followed Raelynn into the funeral parlor.
“(Raelynn) showed me the beautiful bouquet of flowers that surrounded his casket and told me how pretty she thought everything looked. She then asked if me and Blue would stay for a few more minutes. She wanted to pet Blue a little more. So we did.”
In the unlikeliest of circumstances, a new friendship was formed.
Emily was keen to give her dog a lot of the credit, saying that Blue was her “gentle giant” as she could sense when someone was sad or upset.
But Raelynn said it was Emily herself who had lifted her spirits on that day, saying:
“She helped me feel better by her kindness.”
You can learn more about this heartbreaking story in the video below.
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