Meet Teddy, Arlington Memorial Gardens' Grief Therapy Dog-in-Training with a Wonderfully Wonky Ear

Teddy's mom cleaned his right ear too hard when he was born, giving him a charming lopsided appearance

click to enlarge Teddy's mom cleaned his right ear too hard when he was born, giving him his characteristic and charming lopsided appearance - Photo: Provided by Arlington Memorial Gardens
Photo: Provided by Arlington Memorial Gardens
Teddy's mom cleaned his right ear too hard when he was born, giving him his characteristic and charming lopsided appearance

Arlington Memorial Gardens is a 165-acre cemetery and memorial park complex in Springfield Township, complete with mausoleums, 29 gardens, a funeral home and plenty of activities. Established in 1934 "on land that was originally deeded by General George Washington to the Johnson family for services rendered during the American War of Independence," says a release, the big news here isn't what's old at the gardens, it's what's new. And what's new is a 1-year-old golden doodle named Teddy with a wonky right ear.

Teddy is Arlington's newest employee and is slated to be a grief therapy dog once he passes his training. His owner Lauren Christakos, a family care advisor at Arlington, brings him to work every day and when the new funeral home opens there in spring 2020, Teddy will assist families both at the home and in the cemetery. 

click to enlarge Teddy in a golf cart - Photo: Arlington Memorial Gardens
Photo: Arlington Memorial Gardens
Teddy in a golf cart

“Teddy’s chief responsibilities will be accommodating families according to their needs — whether that be accompanying them to a pre-planning appointment, sitting by their side as they make funeral arrangements after a loved one has passed, and attending funerals with families. He really enjoys entertaining people at our special events, and especially loves riding in the golf cart," says Dan Applegate, president of Arlington Memorial Gardens. "He brings a huge smile to the faces of just about everyone he meets, and has a lot of love to give.”

An added amount of joy comes from his weird ear. When Teddy was a puppy, his mom "cleaned his ear a bit too hard at birth, and removed the soft part of his ear which causes it to stand up. This unusual characteristic only adds to his charm," says a release.

Applegate adds that Arlington is now a dog-friendly campus for well-controlled and leashed animals. 

Arlington Memorial Gardens is located at 2145 Compton Road in Springfield Township, amgardens.org.

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