Rady Children's therapy dogs brings comfort before COVID vaccine shot

Posted at 4:13 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 21:36:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — At Rady Children's Hospital, you will find two staff members hard at work doing what no nurse or doctor can do.

The hospital's COVID-19 vaccination wing can be a scary place for little ones who can now be fully vaccinated against the virus.

That's where Lucy and Ollie come in. Golden Doodles who have a serious purpose.

The therapy dogs are at the hospital daily, equipped with their own badges and fan cards, calming children who are afraid of needles and the COVID-19 shot.

"I come in with my dog Lucy and she knows she's going to work when we pull in, she gets excited. She knows her purpose and her job and she knows which kids need her more. She puts her paw in their hand and keeps them calm. She goes from kid to kid and senses when they need her and they come out laughing and happy," said Melanie Jacobson.

Rady nurse Blanca Montano said it's important to prepare your child a week or so in advance for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Start a conversation by asking questions and acknowledging those feelings. Also, inform your kids what will happen and walk them through the steps.

Montano also suggests bringing an iPad or favorite toy. She said it's important to give them choices — if they want to hold your hand or sit on your lap. And, to praise them and celebrate when it is over.

"Some kids are nervous and the therapy dogs distract them where they normally wouldn't do it, they do it. Tell them they have gotten other shots and his is no different. Tell them it's ok to be nervous, that adults get nervous too. Most kids will say it's not that bad when it's over," said Montano.

Sometimes it just takes a little shot of courage, from man's best friend.

For more information on how to make an appointment at Rady Children's and for more information about calming your child's fears, click here.