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GLADSTONE / ESCANABA — Losing a loved one is never easy – and so Skradski Funeral Homes wanted to be the first in the U.P. to try a different way to help support those who are grieving.

Jenna Leisner, Funeral Director at Skradski Family Funeral Homes, explained, “We understand that grieving is different for everyone. And we’re always trying to stay up on new ways that we can serve our families here. So, it just seemed appropriate to bring in a grief therapy dog here at the funeral home.”

Pancake, a hypoallergenic goldendoodle, is only 10 weeks old. By his first birthday, he will be a certified grief therapy dog.

“Throughout this next year, he’s going to go through socialization classes, he’s going to go through obedience training, and eventually very very intense therapy training,” Jenna said.

Right now, Pancake is in his very early stages of training. Once he’s certified, Pancake will serve many roles to help comfort grieving families.

Jenna explained, “We want him sitting in on funeral arrangements with us with the families at no extra charge. He’ll be working funeral services. And then on our slow days, we’re hoping to get really involved with some reading programs around here. I want to bring him into nursing homes, some of the senior center events that they hold, hospital events…We really want to get him as involved in the public as we can.”

Pancake will be working at both the Gladstone and the Escanaba locations.