PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s hard to have a frown when there is a dog around.
Friendly canines from WOOF (We Offer Our Friends) Therapy Dogs, a non-profit volunteer group that visits nursing homes, schools and other facilities in Central Illinois, went to the Ronald McDonald House in Peoria on Wednesday.
“We were all in the windows, watching the dogs get out of the cars, watching them cross the street, and we were all like kids ourselves. We couldn’t wait to get them over here and pet them and interact with them,” said Amber Kaylor, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Illinois.
Each dog has its own “trading card” with the dog’s name and picture on the front. The back of the card has the dog’s breed, birthday and owner, as well as fun characteristics about the pup.
Kaylor said the turnout was amazing. More than a dozen therapy dogs and their owners showed up to the event.
“It’s just a reminder of how much this community supports what we do here and how much it supports our families. It’s heartwarming for us to know that the community really does support the families,” she said.
Kaylor said they will bring the therapy dogs back on an ongoing basis, adding it’s wonderful to see the dogs interact with the children.
“It’s hard to keep your emotions in check because it’s just amazing, hard to describe,” she said.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provide housing, transportation and food to families whose children are being treated at area hospitals. Families must reside at least 30 miles from the hospital to be eligible.
The Peoria location is affiliated with OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and UnityPoint Health. It opened in 2019.