Hero Dog Awards - Ryder


Kensington, Connecticut

Ryder became a therapy dog in 2018. We immediately began to make visits at a local hospital, nursing home, assisted living facilities and colleges. This all stopped in March of 2020 when Covid came sweeping through CT. As a RN I became engulfed in the Pandemic. Ryder waited patiently at home. Things changed again on December 28, 2020 when I assisted in the opening of the first Covid vaccine clinic in CT. Then in March 2021 I was contacted by a social worker from the hospital. She requested a pet therapy visit for a Hospice patient who was dying. We gladly accepted. For the next 9 months, Ryder brought care and comfort to patients and their families as they faced life limiting illnesses. Come April 2021, Ryder comforted children as they got their first Covid vaccinations! Now in 2022, Ryder has embarked on new visit destinations. He is shown waiting to enter a local elementary school so that he can visit special needs children. He has returned to the hospital, going into a locked behavior health unit. This past Sunday was the most powerful visit we have made. A young man with acute needs began to sob while petting Ryder. I shared that Ryder likes hugs. He got down on the floor to encircle Ryder while still crying. Three patients spoke words of comfort to him, one lying down next to Ryder and gently talking to the grieving man. It was one of the most powerful moments I have ever witnessed. Ryder has brought joy, comfort and peace to people of all ages. He is a true Hero!