Photo: Pinelawn Memorial Park & Arboretum
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Pinelawn candlelight vigil including therapy dogs for mourners

A Long Island not-for-profit is offering therapy dogs to help people in mourning.

Paws of War, an organization that connects individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with therapy animals, is collaborating with Pinelawn Memorial Park & Arboretum in Farmingdale to make trained service dogs available as part of its grief support offerings to help Pinelawn families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Photo: Paws of War

Pinelawn’s upcoming Spring Candlelight Remembrance Vigil on Saturday, April 13 will include animals trained by the professionals of Paws of War and certified by Therapy Dog International.

The annual vigil, which usually sees around 300 attendees, begins at 6 p.m. Along with a candle-lighting and name-reading ceremony to honor loved ones, guests will be given the opportunity to visit the service animals throughout the vigil for comfort and support during their healing experience. 

Justin Locke, president of Pinelawn Memorial Park & Arboretum, expressed the importance of Paws of War’s partnership to Pinelawn’s commitment to helping its grieving families.

“Our collaboration with Paws of War offers a new, unique, calming influence to support the healing process for those who are mourning,” he said in a written statement. “It is incredible to witness the therapeutic role animals can play, and we are honored to have these service dogs visiting Pinelawn.”

While traditionally known for supporting veterans, first responders and their families, Paws of War is grateful for the chance to bring the animals to Pinelawn.

“Our therapy dogs don’t just offer comfort, they provide a source of hope and give unconditional love, serving as a gentle respite during tough times,” Ryan Haugstatter, director of Veteran Affairs & Development with Paws of War, said in the statement. “It’s a privilege to work with Pinelawn… we know the healing powers that only animals can bring, and we are thankful to be part of this candlelight vigil.”

Therapy dogs will also be onsite at Pinelawn for other events throughout the year, such as the annual Lantern Lighting Celebration.

For more information on Pinelawn Memorial Park & Arboretum, visit

To find out more about Paws of War, visit

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