DENVER (KDVR) — Comfort dogs are a powerful tool in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Now they are being used in hospital ERs. Not for patients but for the medical staff.  

Some of the medicines you will find at a hospital ER are penicillin, morphine and antibiotics. But at Rose Medical Center, you can add a dog to that list.

“How can you have a dog in an ER room? Well, the ER, first and foremost, isn’t the most sanitary place but she’s cleaned and washed, her vest is clean all the time. People wash their hands before and after they pet her,” Dr. Susan Ryan said.

Ryan works in the emergency room at Rose Medical Center and says just the presence of her companion dog Pepi is powerful medicine.

“Yeah it is, it’s better than any medicine I can prescribe,” Ryan said.

Ryan said working in a hospital during the pandemic was a petri dish for PTSD.

“She was in the front lines with the COVID work here at Rose Hospital and basically the morale suffered, and I think the burnout was an issue,” Lindsey Davis, a volunteer for Canines for Companionship, said.

Davis said she is not aware of any other hospital in Colorado that has comfort dogs for the staff. 

“Rose (hospital) is kind of on the cutting edge right now as far as offering some therapy with the dogs and these are actually full-on facility dogs,” Davis said.

No one would have thought that some of the best medicine here is found at the end of a leash.