Ronald McDonald House

Mini Therapy Horses are regular visitors at Ronald McDonald House East Hollywood and Pasadena where the families of children undergoing treatment for cancer and other critical medical procedures in nearby hospitals, get to stay free or at low cost. The children are always excited to spend time with our tiny horses. The children’s faces light up with joy as they get to braid the horses’ manes and walk them on a double-leash in their wheelchairs or walkers. They watch the horses perform tricks and get to hug them to their hearts’ content. Their siblings and parents experience a different kind of joy: they watch as their brother or sister or child is transformed by happiness. These interactions help the children get their minds to their struggles, making an emotional, physical and spiritual shift in their well-being. Even a child who is wheelchair bound can double leash walk a horse while feeling empowered and hopeful.

Mini Therapy Horses always gives a stuffed toy horse as a keepsake for each child to remember our visit.

Ronald McDonald House Stories:

We have so many incredible experiences with the children and their families. Pearl and I visited with a little girl staying at Pasadena Ronald McDonald House that was going through critical surgical procedures and had lost a leg to cancer. We hooked a lead on both sides of Pearl’s halter and off we went together with her walker and all! She was so overjoyed and felt so proud to be walking a horse while Pearl pranced in her little boots. Being able to lead a horse from a walker or wheelchair gives these kids a sense of empowerment and a memory they will never forget!

Another magical visit was with our volunteer, Megan Sullivan, and myself handling mini therapy horse Willow Blue and a child that was visually impaired. With sensitivity and compassion, Megan took his hands and helped him navigate Willow from her ears to her hooves. He felt the warm breath from her nostrils and ran his fingers through her fluffy mane. He was ecstatic with happiness, and his mother was crying saying she had never seen him respond like that and be so engaged. This comfort and relief for the parents and siblings is vital to the health of the entire family and his support system. These experiences are the essence of what drives our hearts and our charity.