When we think of hospital therapy dogs, normally we would assume they are there for the sick patients. But for therapy dog Wynn, she has been taking on a full load providing therapy for hospital staff during the Covid-19 outbreak. The amount of stress on first responder hospital workers right now is unfathomable to many of us, but Wynn seems to take it all in stride offering nurses and doctors a little comfort in a high anxiety environment.
ABC News reports about Wynn’s work as a service dog at Rose Medical Center in Denver where the well-mannered yellow lab offers cuddles to extremely stressed out employees. Wynn’s trainer and owner is emergency room physician, Susan Ryan, at Rose Medical Center and she fully supports the work her pup is doing at the hospital. Ryan explains, “She has the ability to really calm people down. We’re working in a unique time and she helps us stay grounded.”
Ryan has been working with and training Wynn through Canine Companions for Independence for the past 11 months and the dog has become a regular on the emergency room floor with Dr. Ryan. But in recent days, the staff has really come to appreciate all the support Wynn can offer. Ryan explains how the dog works her magic often in minutes. She says, “One of our staffers was crying and truly overwhelmed with everything that’s been going on so we had her go into the office with Wynn and it changed her immediately.”
Dr. Ryan recently posted a photo to Instagram of herself and Wynn that soon became viral. The photo shows the doctor obviously worn out and stressed, sitting on the hospital floor in all of her protective gear while petting Wynn. In the caption she writes, “She comes to the ER and stays within our social workers’ inner office, so no one touches her but staff can wash up and have a moment with her. She has saved us because we are very stressed and anxious.” Wynn’s collar and vest is washed often and staff must wash up before and after interacting with Wynn.
What do you think of this type of service dog helping hospital staff through this stressful time?
Do you think more hospitals should consider using service dogs to help out in this way?
Image: Dr. Susan Ryan