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One-year Old Service Dog Brings Comfort to Exhausted Medical Staff on the Frontlines

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Wynn is a dog undergoing training. While she’s yet to be officially dubbed a “service dog,” this doesn’t stop her from helping the ER doctors in Denver.

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Wynn’s current base of operation is the Rose Medical Center in Denver where she offers countless cuddles and much needed mental breaks for the overworked medical staff.

Wynn is no stranger to medical staff and is being trained by Susan Ryan who herself is working as an emergency physician at the hospital. 

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Ryan happily “shares” Wynn with her co-workers. Below is a picture of her and Wynn showing the both of them lying on the floor of the hospital with Wynn comforting the exhausted physician. 

“I saw Wynn coming back in from being walked outside,” Ryan said. “I just slumped down on the floor and said ‘can I just have a minute with her’?'”

Ryan also shared that at the time of the photo she had just finished working with a patient, had washed up, and was taking a quick break before moving on to the next patient. 

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“Seeing stuff and hearing stuff that you can’t unsee has an impact on you,” Ryan said. “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.”

We’re not sure whether this counts as part of Wynn’s official training, but it should. Wynn is currently undergoing training to become an assistance dog for the Canine Companions for Independence. The CCI is a non-profit organization that provides trained dogs for free to adults, people with disabilities, veterans, and children who need help.

This isn’t the first time Ryan has taken Wynn to the hospital either. She’s been training Wynn since she was an 8-weeks old puppy and she’s been taking her to the hospital long before the pandemic. 

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“It’s been the brightest part of our day,” Ryan said.

During the current crisis, Ryan has been set up in the social workers’ office that’s for on-call staffers. There, she provides puppy love to all the stressed-out personnel of the Rose Medical Center. The lights in the room are dimmed and there’s meditation music playing, all to provide the most relaxing atmosphere possible.

And, of course, because these are all trained medical professionals, they are thoroughly washing their hands and replacing their gowns every time before snuggling with Wynn. 

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Ryan also commented on how she wished people would help out medical professionals. She urges them to practice social distancing, to wash their hands, and to take care of themselves so that fewer people get sick. Simply put, she urges people to try and flatten the curve.

This will decrease the surge that will hit us,” Ryan said. “We took an oath. We will stand up and show up.”

 Ryan also shared how touched she and her colleagues are by the #Solidaryat8 campaign. This is the social movement that urges people to go out on their balconies at 08:00 pm and cheer, clap, and support the people who battle to crisis every day in hospitals, nursing homes, and other clinics.

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We are all in this together,” Ryan said. “We can be connected by kindness, love and four paws.” 

As for Wynn, she’ll be under Ryan’s care until she’s ~18 to 22 months old. After that, she’ll move on to the professional training program of CCI which will take place at one of the organization’s training centers. If you’re curious and eager for some puppy love, you can check out the organization’s live stream puppy camera here.

The Canine Companions for Independence center has been hard at work training service dogs ever since 1975. They depend as much on donations as they do on people helping them raise puppies the way Ryan is doing. It’s those volunteer puppy raisers that allow the CCI to remain a non-profit as they take care of the hardest part of dog training – raising the young puppy in a good way so that he or she becomes receptive to service training by the organization later on.

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If you want to help by raising a puppy to be a service dog, you can check out CCI’s Puppy Raiser FAQ here.

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