Arkansas jogger, dog offer comfort to child during father’s funeral

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Never underestimate the healing power of a dog. An Arkansas woman on a jog with her dog helped comfort a 6-year-old girl who was at a funeral home grieving the death of her father.

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Emily Beineman, who was jogging in Fort Smith with her dog, Blue, passed a funeral home when a girl yelled and asked to pet the dog, CBS News reported.

“I smiled and said, ‘Of course! As long as your parents don’t mind!!’” Beineman wrote in a Facebook post. “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.”

The girl, Raelynn Nast, was outside the McConnell Funeral Home Chapel in Greenwood, for the funeral of her father, Davey Nast, 41, CBS News reported. John David “Davey” Nast, Jr., died April 14 from colon cancer, according to his obituary.

Today while on our daily run a little girl was outside the funeral home & yelled “may I pet your puppy?” I smiled & said...

Posted by Emily Beineman on Monday, April 19, 2021

Beineman said her dog reacted without even being prompted.

“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 invited Beineman inside the funeral home.

“I asked if she wanted to come in and see my dad,” Raelynn told CBS News.

“She was very proud of her dad,” the girl’s mother, Lacey Nast, told CBS News. “She always wanted to introduce her dad to everybody,” Lacey said.

Beineman said she knew she was not properly dressed for a funeral, especially after running 3 miles. But she also realized how much introducing her father one last time meant to Raelynn.

“Everyone was kind of looking around like, ‘Where did she come from?’ And she came in right next to Rae like they’d known each other for so long,” Lacey Nast told CBS News. “There was that connection there.”

“(Raelynn) showed me the beautiful bouquet of flowers that surrounded his casket and told me how pretty she thought everything looked, Beineman wrote on Facebook. “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.”

A fast friendship was made. And Raelynn said it should not be a surprise.

“She helped me feel better by her kindness,” she told CBS News.

“I’ve always referred to Blue as my ‘gentle giant’ because I’ve always felt that she could sense when someone is sad/upset/etc. and has this overwhelming calmness about her that is indescribable,” Beineman wrote on Facebook. “Today, I am thankful for many things. But I’m especially thankful for God allowing us to meet this special little girl on one of the hardest days of her life.”

Raelynn and Beineman reunited again this week and plan to remain friends, CBS News reported.

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