Aberdeen International Airport in Scotland has launched The Canine Crew – the UK’s first airport therapy dog team – to help calm nervous flyers before their flight.
The airport worked with the Therapet service, which provides friendly and sociable therapy dogs to those in need. The dogs will now be visiting the terminal on a regular basis from May 4.
The Therapet dogs are already regular visitors to nursing homes, schools, prisons and universities, where they have been proven to help improve mental health and wellbeing, alleviate stress and calm nerves.
Therapet is managed by Canine Concern Scotland Trust and will deploy a team of dogs with their handlers on a rota basis. Trustee of the charity and area representative for Aberdeenshire North Therapet, Diane Wood, explained, “All our dogs – and their owners – have undergone rigorous training and assessment to work in a variety of environments and the dogs are used to being stroked and petted and generally made a fuss of so they will lap up the attention and thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to interact with passengers and staff.
“The mere action of stroking a dog slows down the heartbeat and reduces blood pressure so they will be a great help to anyone feeling nervous about their journey. The dogs will work in pairs, for two hours at a time once a week, and we plan to keep everybody updated about what dogs are visiting and when.”
Aberdeen International airport duty manager Fraser Bain, said, “We’re excited to be the first airport in the UK to offer this service to passengers. As well as benefitting our visitors, we also recognize the benefit to the mental health and wellbeing of our staff. The Canine Crew is made up of a variety of dogs, with a mixture of brilliant traits and personalities and we cannot wait to see the reaction of our passengers.”