Kerry Cherry is the Commissioner of the Montgomery Miracle League, member of Dogs on Call (DOC), and a great partner to our organization. We asked her a few questions about this partnership, one that is unique within the national Miracle League Organization.
So how did you get involved with the Miracle League of Montgomery?
I have a heart for kids with special needs and love working with them. When the Montgomery Miracle League held the very first registration in February of 2005, I went to sign up to be a “Buddy.” I told the baseball commissioner I just wanted to walk with the kids around the bases. Well, I eventually took over all the duties of the commissioner and by the end of the inaugural season; I was (unanimously) voted president by the ballpark board of directors.
How did Dogs on Call become a partner with the Miracle League?
In March of 2011, Young Meadows Presbyterian Church held a season kickoff party for the Miracle League. They invited many organizations that assist those with special needs. One of those invited to the event was DOC. I met Mark and we talked and I invited DOC to come and be a part of our Miracle League games.
The dogs have helped provide encouragement, motivation, and even provided a calming presence for some of our kids who get overwhelmed. Some dogs are “dugout dogs,” while others run with the players around the bases.
Can you tell us a few stories about the difference the DOC dogs have made with players?
I am seeing more eye contact from many players with autism. I am seeing more kids starting to become more vocal and more social. I have a couple players who just weren’t motivated to run the bases. But bring a dog in the game and they’re ready to play along side their four legged friends! I even have a few players who were afraid of dogs who now can’t wait to see them each week.
Do you have a favorite DOC dog?
Oh, my… my favorite dog? They are all amazing and I love them all! But, I’m partial to Chihuahuas, so Rosco and Minnie May are close to the top. And there’s just something about Roxie, Eli and Millie. And then there’s Dixie. And Daisy. They are all wonderful!
What has DOC meant to you personally?
I love DOC and everyone in it. We are a family. It is a very special group of people and I feel so honored to be a part. My own dog, who was a rescue, failed the class – twice. But I love the program and the partnership it has with the Miracle League, and I wanted to be a part of it. I love what they do and I have seen first hand the difference this program makes in the lives of so many. So in the Fall of 2013, I was able to test with Millie and Roxie and became a certified DOC handler. As far as I know, I am the only member who doesn’t have a dog in the program! But, I am available to assist those who have more than one dog. I love going to the various venues and watching the smiles we get. My heart is to serve others. I do that through running the Miracle League and being a handler with the DOC.
To learn more about Miracle League of Montgomery, visit the Montgomery Miracle League Facebook page.