Chief Cheer Officer: Service dog brings joy to Ronald McDonald f

Chief Cheer Officer: Service dog brings joy to Ronald McDonald families

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Ronald McDonald House of Lubbock is the first in the nation to bring in an employee with the sole purpose of spreading cheer.

Jax is a bred and trained service dog.

"We got him through Guide Dogs for the Blind and he was career changed, so we wanted to keep him working and he does a great job as our Chief Cheer Officer right here at the Ronald McDonald House," CEO and President Dina Jefferies said. 

He’s the first service dog to be placed with the organization and on a best friend basis with Hunter.

“Jax has brought a lot of happiness to Hunter, every time we come here he is excited to see him and that’s his main thing when he does get here, is he wants to see Jax. So he really brings a lot of joy to him," Hunter's dad, Rusty White said. 

“It warms my heart and also means it's working the vision that we had for a house dog here at the Ronald McDonald House has grown to a point that it's working," Jefferies said.

Hunter has been staying with the Ronald McDonald House off and on since he was diagnosed with leukemia in October of last year.

“Hunter is a special soul and he is one of our cancer warriors, I think any child fighting cancer is deemed that title warrior and he and Jax have just developed a great little buddy friendship," Jefferies said.

Hunter and his family live in Odessa and when it's time to travel to Lubbock, they tell Hunter they are going to see Jax. 

"Kinda gives him more to look forward to, versus just were going to the Ronald McDonald House for treatment, so brings him a lot of joy,” White said. 

"Jax has just really looks forward to Hunter coming into the Ronald McDonald House and Hunter really looks forward to Jax when he’s here at the house or when he’s over at the hospital,” Jefferies said. 

Jax brings joy to the patients and their families, "because illness doesn't affect just the child, it affects the whole family," Jefferies said.

"It means a lot having him in there, the biggest thing like you said just making Hunter happy, making him smile and taking the burden off of him. He’s definitely scared of needles and stuff you know, so he thinks of Jax, it really lightens him up,” White said.

“I think it's just seeing their smile and I do think for just a little bit of time they forget about their illness and their day is brighter by a four legged family member, they really do look at Jax as a part of their family now," Jefferies said.

Jax and Dina are a therapy team, they can go to all hospitals to spread a smile or two.

"He leaves a little bit of his heart right  there on the bed of the patient, because thatch where he needed to be. He knew that Hunter was about to have his chemo treatment and he would need some comfort and love and a little distraction and so Jax is all about that," Jefferies said.

Jax has been a part of many highs and lows for children and their families.

"He just spreads comfort and cheer to anyone that he encounters and so for the families it usually the soft strokes and he probably has heard more secrets and I don’t know what's going to happen and it's just a great way for the families to have that comfort," Jefferies said.

Jax and Dina have traveled the country, helping other chapters to get a house dog, a Chief Cheer Officer just like Jax.

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