While the world fights back against the fast-spreading coronavirus, our nation’s healthcare workers are our best defense. They’re risking their lives to protect others, and their already stressful jobs have never been more difficult. Despite the surmounting challenges, doctors, nurses, and aides show up when they’re needed most. There are countless stories of society coming together to support these heroes, and one of our favorites is about a one-year-old service dog in training.
Wynn may not wear a stethoscope, but she’s become an integral part of the healthcare team at a Denver hospital. Susan Ryan, an emergency physician, recently shared a picture of herself and Wynn taking a break at the hospital. The photo has since been shared far and wide.
According to the Facebook post, Ryan is training Wynn for Canine Companions for Independence. The non-profit organization trains and donates assistance dogs to individuals with disabilities. Wynn is still in training, but she’s already showing promise as a service dog. Much of her training happens as she accompanies Ryan to the hospital and provides support to the entire medical staff.
During her visits to the hospital, the young service dog in training hangs out in the social workers office. The lights in the room are dimmed and calming music sets the tone for a relaxing environment. When doctors, nurses, and other staff members feel overwhelmed, they’re welcome to pay Wynn a visit—after they wash their hands, of course.
Sitting with Wynn and petting her fur is a much-needed mental break. Ryan told CNN reporters,
“Seeing stuff and hearing stuff that you can’t unsee has an impact on you. That’s where the dogs come in. When you are in the presence of the dog and petting them, you are taking a moment to ground yourself at that present time.”
The image of Ryan sitting on the floor wearing a facesheild, mask, and gown is what’s happening in every medical facility across the country. The difference is, Ryan has Wynn there for support. Simply spending time near a dog has been proven to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. Wynn is providing a much-needed service to those who need it most during this difficult time.
Ryan and the rest of the hospital staff are taking every possible precaution to prevent spreading the virus. No one enters Wynn’s “office” without thoroughly washing their hands. Ryan encourages everyone to take the coronavirus seriously and think of healthcare workers as they continue to practice self isolation and social distancing.
For now, Wynn is working on her trianing by helping her local heros. When she’s a little older, she’ll join a family as a a fully certified service animal.
Need a break from the news? Check out this handsome dog’s amazing hair!