A furry four-legged friend is helping vaccination teams to administer life-saving Covid-19 jabs at the Forest Recreation Vaccination Site.
Ruby, the eight year old Briard has been attending the vaccination clinics for 12-15-year-olds to help put people at ease and she has proven to be a big hit among patients and staff.
Ruby is a qualified therapy dog and has been helping to relax people for seven years at hospitals and more recently as a police wellbeing dog.
Dale Buckland, Ruby’s owner, said: “She is a perfect therapy dog because of her calm temperament. She is very playful when out and about with my other dogs but as soon as the yellow jacket goes on, she is calm and relaxed.
“She has been helping to relax people at the clinics and she is a great distraction. She has proven to be very popular, and parents have told me what a great help she has been.
“Once she has helped to distract from the vaccination taking place I then offer the chance to give her a treat which is nice too.”
Children aged 12-15-years-old are being offered vaccinations through their school clinics. However, this cohort can also receive their jab at clinics held outside of school hours with the added advantage of being able to attend with their parent or carer.
Therapy dog Ruby will be on hand to help at the children’s clinics over the coming weeks and vaccination staff hope that she will encourage more young people to come and receive their jab.
Site manager, Rebekah Adgar, said: “Ruby has proven to be a huge hit with staff and our younger citizens and it has been lovely to see the effect that she has when she is on site. In healthcare pets are a known effective way of reducing stress and anxiety in the clinical setting and Ruby certainly puts people at their ease. It is great to see her calm any nerves so young ones can quickly receive the vaccine with the added bonus of Ruby sat by their side.
“Ruby will be at our 12-15 clinics on Mondays and Wednesdays over the next few weeks and I would encourage anyone who may be nervous to come down and have their vaccine while she is on site. 12-15 year olds can receive their first or second dose at these clinics which are specifically for our younger ones in mind and is reflected in our specialist and experienced staff delivering the vaccine. It is never too late to receive the vaccine, it really is the best protection and I would encourage anyone eligible to take up the offer.”
The 12-15 clinics are held at the Forest Recreation Ground on Monday and Wednesday 3pm-7.30pm. On weekend the clinics happen on Saturday 3pm-7.30pm and Sunday 8.20am-1.40pm.
During half term week (12-20 February) an extra clinic will take place on Friday 18 February from 3pm-7:30pm.