Service Dog Gets Sendoff Party After Comforting Hospital Staff During Pandemic

February 15, 2021

Emergency room staff at Rose Medical Center in Denver had a bittersweet sendoff for one of their most special team members Thursday.

service dog Wynn party

Wynn, a service dog in training raised by Dr. Susan Ryan, has been comforting medical staff on the front lines of the coronavirus fight in Denver.

"Seeing stuff and hearing stuff that you can't unsee has an impact on you," said Ryan, an emergency physician at Rose Medical Center. "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."

Ryan raised Wynn for nearly two years knowing she would eventually go on to more advanced training in her path toward becoming a service dog.

service dog Wynn
Susan Ryan and Wynn / @docplusdog

Last Thursday, Wynn was scheduled for "turn-in". Staff in the emergency department came together to celebrate Wynn one last time. Some made signs calling Wynn a "hero".

"We all witnessed a lot this year. We had incredible camaraderie, we were the best team I ever imagined being around, and she was part of our team — she saw us through," said Ryan. "People would just pet her and break out into a smile when it was just the hardest day."

Wynn's future training with Canine Companions for Independence will determine what type of service dog she'll become. Ryan said that could mean anything from helping a veteran with PTSD to a child with special needs or being a facility dog in a setting like a courthouse or hospital.

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