Kids Comforted By Therapy Dogs During COVID-19 Vaccinations

Kids Comforted By Therapy Dogs During COVID-19 Vaccinations
Photo credit: WLOS staff

Leicester, North Carolina-based pet therapy organization Fur Kidz Sake is best known for its volunteer efforts in schools. But in November 2021, founder Paul Howey and his team of Fur Kidz Sake volunteers led their trained and certified therapy dogs to St. Eugene Catholic Church in North Asheville, where a free COVID-19 shot clinic for children was underway.

According to a news report from WMYA MyTV 40, Fur Kidz Sake’s human and canine team were there to soothe young children who had the jitters over getting their vaccines. Howey said that just having the therapy dogs around could distract kids and help calm them. 

Fur Kidz Sake’s therapy dogs, who were stationed both inside the vaccination site and immediately outside the church, were considered welcome visitors by the children. While waiting in line for their shots, the kids were able to pet, feed or simply watch the dogs interact with others.

A fifth-grader named Bentley, one of the kids interviewed for the story, expressed her surprise and excitement at seeing the therapy dogs on the site. Being in the company of a small and friendly animal that she could pet made her less scared about receiving her COVID-19 vaccine.

St. Eugene’s parish priest, Fr. Pat Cahill, was also happy that the therapy dogs were around to encourage the little ones.

The Contributions of Therapy Dogs to Humans’ Quality of Life

An organization like Fur Kidz Sake trains and registers therapy dogs, as well as the humans who will be handling them, for occasions that the pups can inspire extra confidence, healing and comfort. These include school reading programs, holistic care programs in hospitals and prison ministries.

In everyday settings, these dogs are easily identifiable by the customizable dog collars, custom dog harnesses, and other specialty apparel they wear. These signal to the general public that the dogs are properly trained for their work and are ready to help humans in particular contexts.

Interested in news about pet therapy and other important issues in the world of our furry friends? For more stories like this one, be sure to check out the  PrideBites blog from time to time.