Reporting Aristea Brady
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis is a place for children and their families to stay while kids battle life-threatening illnesses. It provides lots of activities and diversions for its young patients, including an occasional visit from “Dusty the horse.”
Dusty not only brings a big smile when he visits kids, he also has a ready supply of kisses. Some of the kids were a little afraid of Dusty at first, but they got over it.
“Many of them have never seen a horse before, & Dusty is no little pony, he’s 16-2, he’s a big boy, but he’s so soft, and he’s so gentle,” said Mark Peterson, Dusty’s owner. “It’s heart-warming to see these children interact with him, and vice versa.”
Susan Thompson brought her 8-year-old son, Jacob, to Minneapolis for treatment, and they didn’t expect to see a horse in the big city.
“Ronald McDonald really goes out of their way to make you feel at home, and things like this are great, because we have pets at home, that can’t come with you, and they have the therapy dogs, and now the therapy horse, which is amazing, I didn’t know that existed,” said Thompson.
Dusty even does autographs.
The folks at Ronald McDonald tell us that families stay at the Minneapolis house longer than at any of the other 300 locations. That’s because Minnesota is known around the world as a medical destination.