Adorable dogs help comfort children who are anxious about vaccination at Nee Soon East CC


Zi Shan Kow | February 08, 2022, 12:18 PM

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For children who experience anxiety over getting their Covid-19 shot, the dogs and canine teams at Nee Soon East Community Club are here to help.

The first "vaccination compawnions" session was held on Feb. 7 at the vaccination centre.

The session was facilitated by a social enterprise called the Animal-Assisted Interactions Singapore (AAISG), with support from Nee Soon East MP Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Raffles Medical Group, and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Handlers explain vaccination process

This is the first of its kind programme in Singapore, which aims to help reduce the anxiety levels of children who are waiting to get their Covid-19 vaccinations.

The children would interact with the AAISG dog handler teams, who would explain the process of getting vaccinated.

The handlers would also share about how dogs also get vaccinations, and show how the dogs would receive their vaccinations with a soft toy dog.

No needles are used in the demonstration. Image by Louis Ng.

The programme runs adjacent to the vaccination centre, so those who are not comfortable around dogs can choose not to participate.

Sabun sertu clay soap is also provided for Muslim participants to use, if they wish.

Another session will be held at Nee Soon East CC from 3 to 4pm on Feb. 8.

These interactions with dogs will be limited to not more than 60 to 90 minutes per session, per day.

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Not just therapy dogs

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) may be commonly known as "animal therapy" or "pet therapy".

However, such programmes do not just rely on the animals to provide comfort or treatment.

These programmes must be carried out by healthcare professionals who have been trained to incorporate animals into their practice, without compromising the welfare of the animals, AAISG explained.

Its founder Adele Lau is a lawyer by training and has been working on animal welfare policies in the past few years.

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Top images by Louis Ng Kok Kwang/Facebook.