Honoring Westport volunteer Kiernan Ryan
When thinking of volunteer Kiernan Ryan, we think of gifts. Kiernan has been a gift to the Connecticut Humane Society team in Westport, coming in on Saturday afternoons and covering for other weekend shifts when extra help is needed, always with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone she sees.
Over the past 2 years, Kiernan has given over 200 hours to dogs awaiting homes. Not only does she walk dogs of all temperaments and sizes and levels of sassiness, and assist with doggie play groups, she’s also sure to end her shift with a gift to each dog, like a Kong or other treat.
Kiernan, for her part, thinks of dogs as gifts both literally and figuratively. Her now-senior black lab Layla (pictured) is, shall we say, her obsession. She was given to Kiernan as an eighth-grade graduation present.
Layla, like so many dogs, gives Kiernan the daily gift of love and loyalty. Likewise, Kiernan sees our dogs as bearing gifts as well.
“I find the dogs at CHS to be therapeutic. Any time I feel stressed or down, I know walking the dogs will help me feel better. While the walks and attention make the dogs happy, the dogs make me happy. It’s a win-win!” she says.
She feels giving and receiving this love is super important: “Since I was young, I have always loved animals and wanted to help them. After I graduated college, I wanted to do more than just look at the dogs through the kennels and online. I knew I couldn’t adopt one at that point in my life, so I decided to volunteer as a dog walker and it has been the most rewarding experience.”
When not at the shelter, Kiernan loves spending time at the beach and with her family.