4 min read

Service Dog Comforts The Hospital Workers Who Need Her The Most

“When I walk into a shift the staff light up.”

Wynn is only a year old, but when she’s old enough, she’ll be trained by Canine Companions for Independence to be an assistance dog for someone with a disability. Until then, she’s being trained and socialized by her puppy handler Susan Ryan — but she still has a very important job to do. 

From the moment Ryan met Wynn, she knew she was a special dog. She’s so sweet and playful, and has never met a challenge she couldn’t find a way to tackle.

hospital dog
Susan Ryan

“I have two of my own Labs at home and she always does surprise attacks on them,” Ryan told The Dodo. “Once her vest is on, though, she is all business.” 

Ryan works as an emergency physician at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, and to help with Wynn’s training and socializing, she started taking the puppy with her to the hospital sometimes. Wynn always loves visiting the hospital — but when the coronavirus epidemic started to become an issue in the U.S., it became clear that Wynn could fill an important role at the hospital. 

hospital dog
Susan Ryan

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, doctors, nurses and all hospital staffers are working around the clock to provide the best care they can. They’re working so hard and could definitely use some support, and Wynn is there for them, acting as a therapy dog specifically for everyone on staff who could use a moment to decompress amid all the chaos. 

hospital dog
Susan Ryan

Ryan works hard at the hospital too, and even though she gets to see Wynn at home, she still took a moment on her shift recently to let Wynn comfort her. The pair sat on the floor of the hospital together and Wynn leaned into her foster mom, as if to thank her for taking such good care of both her and all of the patients in the hospital. 

“She comforts us for sure,” Ryan said. 

hospital dog
Susan Ryan

Eventually, Wynn will move on and become an assistance dog for someone else who needs her, but for now, she’ll continue to help out at the hospital with her mom, and everyone is so grateful to have her there. 

“When I walk into a shift the staff light up,” Ryan said. “But it’s for Wynn, not me.”