Dogs to ease worries at flu-shot clinic
Since the H1N1 vaccines began arriving in the state, 3-year-old Tizzy has traveled to flu clinics from Winnemucca to Elko, Tonopah and other towns.
“She’s been holding kids’ hands and making kids feel better all across Nevada,” said owner Stacey Belt, who is a public health planner with Carson City Health and Human Services.
Tizzy, a Spinone Italiano, is one of 13 certified disaster stress relief dogs in the West. She and yellow Labradors Suede and Spike will serve as the “patient support team” at the free swine flu clinic Saturday at the Carson Mall.
“We want folks to have no excuses,” said Pam Graber, health department spokeswoman. “We want to make it fun. We want to make it inviting. We’re going to do everything we can to get more Americans to come down and get vaccinated, protecting themselves and their community.”
Tizzy greeted patrons Thursday at the health center during the regular vaccination clinic. Carol Bauer said she wasn’t worried about the shot, but was glad to see the dog anyway.
“It was a lovely thing,” she said. “It probably helps the nurses more than anybody because when people go in they’re smiling and laughing.”
Tizzy has trained for the role since she was 8 weeks old, and, Belt said, the dog is a natural.
“She’s just got that special disposition,” Belt said.
When not comforting children and others in distress, Tizzy is out hunting birds.
“She hunts for Dad and does therapy for Mom and Dad,” Belt said. “She’s very versatile.”
Graber said shops in the mall will have special offers available for patrons receiving a vaccine Saturday