Ronald Perry, MD pokes his head out of one of the exam rooms and lets out a whistle. “Ruckus,” he yells while a 4-year-old boy is resisting an exam. Perry’s secret weapon is on his way from the office.
Ruckus, a long-haired, brown field spaniel who meets and greets the young patient with a wagging tail and a warm fuzzy nose wearing a therapy dog vest that says “Pet Me” and “Will Give Puppy Kisses” is the Perry’s therapy dog and the ultimate distraction.
While the child focuses on Ruckus, the doctor quickly performs the exam and it’s a win/win situation for all involved – both child and parent relax. Perry accomplishes his goal and Ruckus enjoys being the center of attention.
“He also doubles as low-tech security,” Ronald Perry jokes.
When Perry, an emergency room physician, and his wife, Tara Perry, DMD, a family dentist, decided to open their practices in Suwanee where they share a waiting room at their offices in Suwanee Station, they never knew their best asset would be the family dog.
“We have entire families who come to our office because of Ruckus,” Perry said. “Children request him as soon as they enter the lobby. Both children and adults are vulnerable when they don’t feel well or are scared. Ruckus tries to give them a more positive experience. So whether we are cutting a cast off, placing sutures, or placing a filling, Ruckus is here to take the edge off your day.”
Ruckus started pulling double-duty a year ago when Tara Perry opened her dental practice. She whistles for Ruckus when a patient is about to receive a dental injection and Ruckus dutifully places his head on the patient’s lap while waiting for scratches behind his ears.
“My patients love the fact we have a dog,” Tara Perry said. “I think it makes their doctor and dentist visits feel more down-to-earth. We are truly a family business. Besides, Ruckus whines if we go to work without him.”
And after three and a half years in Suwanee, Ruckus has gained some notoriety around the city. When Ronald Perry was honored by the city of Suwanee for his community service contributions, Ruckus was also invited to the ceremony by the city council where he stood beside Perry while the mayor of Suwanee presented his award.
Both doctors are from Georgia and reside in Gainesville with their young son.
Tara Perry, DMD, is a graduate of Norcross High School, Georgia Tech and a 2001 graduate from the Medical College of Georgia. For more information about Suwanee Station Dentistry, please visit smilesofsuwanee.com.
Ronald Perry, MD, PhD graduated from Augusta University and is a double graduate from the Medical College of Georgia. He received a PhD in Biochemistry and Toxicology before earning his MD from the Medical College of Georgia. For more information about Perry’s urgent care practice, please visit gwinnetturgentcare.com.