'She Helped Me Feel Better': Grieving 6-Year-Old Bonds With Jogger and Dog Outside Her Father's Funeral

·2 min read
Portrait Of A Black Labrador With Human Hand
Portrait Of A Black Labrador With Human Hand

Andrea Schenke / EyeEm / Getty

What started out as an everyday run, quickly turned into an unforgettable meetup for Emily Beineman and a grieving 6-year-old girl named Raelynn.

Jogging in Fort Smith, Ark., earlier this spring with her dog Blue, Beineman heard a child call out from the steps of a nearby funeral home, she told CBS Evening News. The little girl asked, "May I pet your puppy?" Beineman said yes, of course, as long as your parents don't mind. But little did she know the visitation being held inside the funeral home was in memory of Raelynn's dad, Davey-who died from colon cancer at only 41 years old.

After briefly chatting on the steps and giving Blue a big hug, Raelynn explained her dad was inside. Sharing the circumstances of the day, she then bravely asked Beineman if she wanted to "come in and meet my dad."

For Beineman, it was an impossible invitation to pass up coming from a heartbroken child who "always wanted to introduce her dad to everybody," Raelynn's mother Lacey tells CBS. "She was very proud of her dad," a "daddy's girl." When Davey passed away, Raelynn was devastated. Lacey says, "It was a cry that was pure heartbreak."

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Beineman, being the special person that she is, understood the gravity of the offer. She knew that it would be the last time Raelynn would introduce someone to her father. Despite her non-funeral attire and the disruption it could cause, Beineman decided that there was only one right answer to the overwhelming invitation: She followed her grieving new friend into the funeral home and down the aisle.

"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. There was that connection there," Lacey says. CBS asked Raelynn, how could two people bond so quickly? The little girl's answer: "She helped me feel better." And it's as simple as that.

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Raelynn and Bierman met up again in late April and told CBS they plan to "stay friends forever." Part of the glue between the two strangers-sweet pupper Blue and all his snuggles. We're so happy the duo shared their fateful encounter. It's a powerful reminder of the good that can come out of one random act of kindness-plus the soothing presence of our four-legged friends.