Therapy dog provides much-needed mental break for exhausted health workers

Our frontline workers have a stressful enough job as it is but in the midst of the coronavirus they are all at breaking point.

As governments call for medical workers to come out of retirement and buildings are re purposed as hospitals prepare for the demand, just reading about the situation is hard enough, I can’t imagine the horrors our heroic medical workers are having to experience.

One hospital in Denver has come up with an ingenious way of offering some respite from the stressful wards with a therapy dog.

Often seen at airports and in the homes of veterans now therapy dogs can be seen on hospital wards to help health care workers to have a much-needed mental health break.

Wynn, the one-year-old yellow Labrador is offering cuddles to health care workers from the emergency room of a local medical center and is proving a big hit.

According to CNN Wynn is being trained by Susan Ryan, an emergency doctor at the hospital.

An image of Wynn sitting next to Susan who is wearing a face shield and a mask while taking a quick break and a therapeutic pet of this adorable hound was shared on Susan’s Facebook page.

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

‘Taking a moment to ground yourself’

Susan said she had just finished with a patient and washed up before getting some quality time with Wynn, according to CNN.

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

Susan is heavily involved in non profit Canine Companions for Independence which pairs needy adults, children and veterans with disabilities with canine companions.

Susan takes Wynn, who has been with her since she was 8 weeks old, to the hospital with her to provide some respite for herself and colleagues.

She says Wynn even has her own room in a social workers office where the lights are dim and meditation music is playing so workers can take a much-needed mental break.

Anybody that comes into contact with Wynn has washed their hands, Susan assures adding a plea to people to practice social distancing, wash their hands and take care of themselves.

‘We will stand up and show up’

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

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

Canine Companions for Independence has a live stream of a puppy camera for those who don’t have access to any puppy love.

This is a genius idea, we need more therapy dogs in hospitals helping our health workers to get through these unprecedented times.

Please share to thank all our amazing health care workers.