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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) -- Patients and nurses can't help but stare as Ruby, a golden retriever, strolls down the hallway at Blank Children's Hospital. The therapy dog brings a sense of calm each time she visits patients on the third floor.
"She passed the therapy test on the first try, and I knew this was the place that we wanted to come," said Ruby's owner, Rob Ridnour.
Rob Ridnour is no stranger to Blank Children's Hospital. He vividly remembers every room in the hospital where his daughter, Jordan, received cancer treatment starting in 2008.
"I was diagnosed at the age of 8. I was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Basically, I just kind of stopped breathing, and I collapsed, and my parents called the ambulance, and they put me in a medically induced coma right away for about eight days," said Jordan Ridnour.
Jordan Ridnour spent more than two years receiving chemotherapy. Now at age 23, she is in remission and plans to pursue a career in social work. Her experience with cancer largely shaped her career choice, she says, as well as her outlook on life. When she reflects back on her experience, a therapy dog named Scout brings back fond memories at the hospital.
"I just remember him. Every time he came on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He'd come, and I would always be excited because it was Scout," said Jordan Ridnour.
Eleven years after Jordan Ridnour's diagnosis, her younger brother Jacob started experiencing some health struggles. At age 17, doctors also diagnosed him with T-Cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
"It was hard. It was unbelievable. It was ... are you kidding me?" said Rob Ridnour.
Now 20-years-old, Jacob Ridnour is also in remission. He also remembers a therapy dog during his two years of treatment who brought happiness during dark times. Rob Ridnour says bringing Ruby to Blank Children's Hospital is a full-circle moment for his family.
"We can't choose the paths that we get on, but we can choose our attitude and how we respond," said Rob Ridnour. "This is about an opportunity to make a smile and to make a distraction that is positive."
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