The main goal of the Ronald McDonald House is to create a home-away-from-home for families with children living with life-threatening illnesses. This is made possible through caring staff members, volunteers, donations, love and support. However one caregiver in particular provides a sense of home like nothing else. She is patient, loving, and always willing to talk. Her name is Sophia and she is the House’s dog.
Sophia is a small dog, who has a big job – it’s one she takes very seriously. As the resident cheer-giver, her job is to play, give cuddles, listen to troubles, and bring a sense of home to children and families who feel so far from it. Some of our guests can end up being long-term stay families. “They miss their pets and Sophia helps ease homesickness, while keeping our families’ spirits up,” Mark Avelar, Executive Director of RMHC Corpus Christi.
Sophia is a four-year old Maltese and has been part of the House’s family since 2007. Sophia doesn’t shed, rarely barks and doesn’t have allergens that could make children sick. She usually positions herself right at the front door in the late afternoon hours when she knows his families will be coming home for dinner. She is absolutely great at lifting burdens and bringing on smiles.
According to the House Manager Rachel Martinez, Sophia instinctively knows her role is to provide comfort any way he can. "You could hang a sign on her that reads: `The Doctor Is In' the moment she walks in the door," Rachel says. If you ever get a chance to visit the Ronald McDonald House in Corpus Christi, be sure to stop by. Sophia will be waiting to greet you with a lick and a hug. After all, this is The House that Love Built.
A typical day in Sophia’s world is made up of playing with kids, napping, listening to troubles, getting her head scratched and visiting people all around the House – she is a true social-butterfly. She stays healthy and fed thanks to the Ronald McDonald House’s donors and volunteers who provide all of Sophia’s essentials including toys, food and supplies for the year.
In times of heartache and stress, any second of relief can lift a thousand burdens – allowing those in pain to simply breathe. Sophia is of course innocent to know the power of her presence, but she has given these moments countless times for children and their families. Her gift is something no doctor, medicine, or treatment can offer – putting a feeling of home into the House.
See photos of Sophia on Facebook»