Service Dogs Cool the Clinics


Abigail Evers

This was the first clinic for the vaccine for ages 5-11 in the St. Charles area. The children’s parents scheduled the second shot and will be back in two to three weeks.

Abigail Evers, Staff Writer

At the St. Charles Family Arena on November 10, scheduled appointments were held for children ages 5-11 to get the recently approved Pfizer vaccine. To ease this process, service dogs from the CHAMP organization were present during the day to help kids stay calm and excited about the vaccine during the wait times and while shots were being administered. Over the course of three hours, ten dogs were in attendance for the 360 scheduled appointments.

The majority of children dislike getting shots, so having the dogs in the vicinity greatly helped them face their fears. Their parents first had to fill out the necessary paperwork for their child to get the vaccine, followed by the actual shot.

The dogs and their handlers frequently cycled around the kids, stopping in pods to comfort and calm them. After getting their shot, children would go to a different section for the waiting period to make sure they didn’t have a reaction to the shot. There were coloring sheets and donated books for them to use while they waited.

Just having the dogs in their sight helped to create a more positive and calm environment for all involved in the event. As children entered the arena, their nerves started to fizzle out as they were assured that they were all right. The dogs provided a textural distraction as well as a visual one, putting nervous attendants at ease.

Even so, the volunteers and staff of St. Charles Public Health were relieved to hear that their event was a success. Giving the staff a break from the backlash from the general public, the kids were excited to finally get vaccinated with the comfy company that was provided.

The event was an overall success, creating a safer environment in the public, speeding up the process to hopefully bring an end to the pandemic.

If you or someone you know wants to schedule their Covid-19 vaccine appointment, St. Charles County Public Health has scheduled clinics available for the general public.