Families at Ronald McDonald House get dose of pet therapy

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House are getting some extra attention while their children are in the hospital across the street.

They’re getting a visit from some therapy dogs providing comfort and support.

“We just recently had a daughter, and there were some problems with her eating. So every time she would start to eat, she would start to aspirate,” describes father Daniel Belcher.

While his newborn is undergoing testing and being treated at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Daniel, mother Camille Williams, and son Dexter are staying across the street at the Ronald McDonald House; and they’re getting a form of treatment too.

“It was absolutely great. I can tell he’s still excited after it. I can tell he really enjoyed it. I loved it. I think it’s really great that they come out here and do that. I think it helps out the families a lot,” states Daniel.

“I also really enjoy all of the staff here. They’re very kind, caring people,” says Camille.

The family is in good company, and it’s not just the people; they’re getting a visit from some four-legged friends.

“People that come here, the situations that they’re in can be so stressful. So to be able to relieve that by petting a dog, it’s great help,” admits Daniel.

Tucker is a rescue and a therapy dog. He’s certified through Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association, and he visits with families like Daniel and Camille.

“If you like to do something with your dog and give back, it’s the best of both worlds. It’s really is. You just can’t imagine how fun it is,” says owner Pam Killingsworth. “The parents get kind of relaxed a little bit. It takes the stress off of them too.”

While Camille and Daniel will be staying at the Ronald McDonald House for the next few weeks awaiting their daughter’s results, dogs like Tucker are helping give them peace of mind.

“It’s a big stress relief for sure,” says Belcher. “I also really like Dayton Children’s NICU over there; they allow you to stay the night. So we could stay over here if we wanted to, but also stay the night over there when needed.”

Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association is a nonprofit like the Ronald McDonald House.

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