Ronnie McBride’s journey with Hand in Paw began in 2015 when he witnessed the magical effect a Therapy Team had on his friend’s son who was going through chemotherapy at Children’s of Alabama. The Hand in Paw volunteer and their dog provided comfort and joy in a time that was unimaginably challenging for his friend’s family. From that moment on, Ronnie knew he wanted to volunteer with HIP and make a difference in children’s lives through Animal-Assisted Therapy.
A few years later, Ronnie and his family welcomed a beautiful English Cream Golden Retriever named Kenzi into their lives. Ronnie notes that he immediately knew there was “something special about her” and after his wife picked up information about Hand in Paw at a fundraising event, they began the process of screening with HIP.
Now an Advanced Therapy Team, Ronnie and Kenzi visit Children’s of Alabama regularly. With Kenzi by his side, Ronnie is able to fulfill his aspirations to make a positive impact on kids just like the HIP Therapy Team did years ago with his friend’s son (we’d like to note that this child is now cancer-free!).
Ronnie describes his volunteer experience at Children’s as incomparable: “After seeing the excitement and similes that Kenzi brings to children, I can’t imagine a better way to volunteer my time and resources. Not only do I get a lot out of it, but every time Kenzi puts on her HIP scarf and we pull into the Children’s of Alabama parking deck, she gets excited and starts whining, wanting to get out of the car.” In addition to visiting Children’s, Ronnie and Kenzi have also made Wags for Wellness stress relief visits at McLeod Software and Petscription visits at Galleria Woods, a local retirement community.