Ronald McDonald House launches ‘Pets as Friends’ program

Just being around friendly, well-trained pets can bring smiles, calmness and brighten a day for families and children coping with stressful situations.

Ronald McDonald House

Caymus the Goldendoodle is owned by Michelle Newlin. (Laura Hallstrom photo)

Families with children undergoing medical treatment and staying at one of the Valley’s three Ronald McDonald Houses of Central and Northern Arizona experience those challenges, sometimes daily.

To help ease that stress, RMHC-CNAZ has launched a Pets as Friends program for volunteers with well-trained and certified pets through Pet Partners or Alliance for Therapy Dogs to bring their dogs to the campuses “simply to spend time with the children and families staying with us,” said Executive Director Nancy Roach.

Volunteers in the program will bring their dogs into the House’s family room or library during dinner time “so families and children can pet them, play with them and be around them to give them a bit of comfort,”Ms. Roach said.

Pets as Friends visits will take place between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on designated evenings.  Volunteers accepted into the program must provide certification of accreditation and commit to the program for a minimum of six months.

For more information or to register for the Pets as Friends, contact Volunteer Manager Helain Day at 602-798-5093 or at

For more information, visit

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central and Northern Arizona, Inc. provides a “home-away-from-home” for children and their families who travel to metropolitan Phoenix to receive treatment for serious, often life-threatening illnesses and injuries. The three houses operated in metropolitan Phoenix can accommodate up to 78 families a night.

Families stay for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time while their children receive care. Since opening its doors in 1985, families from across the state and around the world have checked into the Ronald McDonald House more than 50,000 times.

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