Therapy dogs will be on hand next week for the children’s vaccine clinics in 100 Mile House.
Three certified dogs from the St John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program will be at the Health Centre, 555 Cedar Ave., for the clinics, slated for Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 15 from 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
“We are so excited to support this very important vaccine clinic,” said Karen Wright, of St John Ambulance.
She noted therapy dogs are used to reach out to thousands of people across Canada on a daily basis bringing comfort, joy and companionship to members of the community who are sick, lonely, reside in long-term and Mental Health facilities, or are in hospices, schools, and library settings.
Joanne Haggstrom, along with her springer spaniel Lily, is one of the three people who will attend the clinic next week. A former nurse who has also worked in both infant and adult development including at Cedar Crest, Haggstrom has been involved in the therapy program since retiring 10 years ago. She got involved in the program after searching for a way to combine her two interests: people and dogs.
She usually takes Lily – and previously her now-retired Ruby – to Mill Site Lodge, Fischer Place and Carefree Manor and said this vaccine clinic will be a first. The aim is to make the process more comfortable for the children, Haggstrom noted seniors often find comfort in being able to pet a dog and get that “tactile feeling.”
“It’s just to distract them,” she said. “We’ve never tried this before.”
Registration and booking appointments for the clinics can be done online at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.