Trained dogs visit COVID-19 vax clinics to distract nervous people from the needle
OTTAWA -- Therapy dogs are being brought to COVID-19 vaccination clinics to help people -- including children -- who are nervous about getting their shots.
At some facilities in Saskatchewan, Quebec and British Columbia, children and adults who have a fear of needles or who worry about getting a protective jab against COVID-19 can sit next to a dog and pet them to reduce anxiety.
In some vaccination clinics in Quebec, the trained dogs sit on people's laps or lie down next to them.
Therapists say the dogs have a profoundly calming effect on people, and in Quebec have stopped some with an acute fear of needles from fainting in clinics.
Colleen Dell, an expert in dog therapy at the University of Saskatchewan, has been taking her trained dog Anna-Belle to clinics in Saskatoon and studying the effect.
She says the white bull-dog sits on a chair beside those getting their shots and significantly reduces anxiety.
Animal therapists say they're now considering taking their dogs into schools as the immunization drive for kids between five and 11 continues to ramp up across Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2021.