Jogger and Dog Comfort Heartbroken Child Outside Funeral of Dad Who Died of Cancer

May 12, 2021 Updated: May 17, 2021

A jogger and her dog who offered comfort to a grieving child outside her father’s funeral received an impromptu invite to come inside, surprising guests. The 6-year-old who is “daddy’s girl,” according to her mom, wanted to introduce her beloved father one last time to the stranger.

Emily Beineman was out jogging with her Labrador, Blue, on April 28, when she passed McConnell Funeral Home Chapel in Greenwood, Arkansas. Raelynn Nast from Fort Smith called out from the steps to ask if she could pet the dog.

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Raelynn Nast with Emily’s dog, Blue. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

“I was like, ‘Yeah, of course, as long as your parents don’t mind,'” Emily told CBS News.  At this time, the jogger was unaware that Raelynn’s father, Davey Nast, 41, had passed away after a battle with colon cancer.

After a brief conversation with the little girl, Emily was invited inside the funeral home.

Dressed in workout gear, Emily knew that entering the chapel would cause a stir, but she let her heart decide. For Raelynn, Emily and Blue’s presence helped soothe her pain.

“She helped me feel better by her kindness,” Raelynn explained.

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(L) Raelynn and Blue with (R) Emily Beineman. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

Raelynn’s mom, Lacey, recalled guests staring at the unexpected stranger as she walked close to Raelynn, but a mother’s intuition told her that they shared an intangible connection. Emily, too, was so touched that she shared the anecdote on Facebook.

As Emily walked in with the little girl, Raelynn showed her dad’s casket and described to her new friend how beautiful everything was.

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Raelynn at her father’s funeral. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

Emily’s “gentle giant” had walked into Raelynn’s open arms of his own volition, she said. The little girl had even asked if Emily and Blue could stay a little longer as she wanted to pet him more. Emily and Blue were then introduced to Raelynn’s mother, grandparents, aunt, and uncle.

The little girl’s aunt whispered into Emily’s ears: “I think God led you & Blue over here today for a reason … Blue’s love & gentleness that she has showed her has touched our hearts.”

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Raelynn Nast with her family. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

“I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason & I truly believe we were meant to meet this little girl,” Emily continued. “She is the perfect reminder of God’s goodness & faithfulness through every storm.”

The trio have since reunited for a play date and have plans to keep in touch.

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Raelynn with her father, Davey. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

Raelynn’s sociable personality, said Lacey, comes from Davey. She also believes Davey had something to do with the events of April 28, since Raelynn’s new Labrador friend is named Blue and blue was Davey’s favorite color. It is also the color of the colon cancer ribbon.

“I think this was his way of telling [Raelynn] that he’s still here, and he’s going to be looking down on her and guiding her through this process,” Lacey told KTVU.

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The trio, reunited. (Courtesy of Lacey Lee Nast)

The mom of two has also started a GoFundMe page to help alleviate the cost of her late husband’s funeral expenses, and an Amazon wish list for her daughters, Raelynn and Gracie.

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