Brisbane Airport trials therapy dogs

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Brisbane Airport in Australia has begun trialing therapy dogs in the Domestic Terminal to reduce preflight stress for passengers.

The trial initiative brings canine ambassadors from Therapy and Support Animals Australia into the terminal to provide support to manage anxiety. Cooper the labradoodle, Kevin the sheepadoodle and four puppies in training went on duty on Wednesday, July 11 between 11am and 1pm, opposite News @ BNE, adjacent to the Qantas Area Food Court.

Sarah Whyte, head of communications and brand marketing at Brisbane Airport Corporation, said, “Therapy dogs are in use in a growing number of airports around the world to calm nerves and help people de-stress. Who doesn’t love a puppy? Not only have we had really positive feedback from travelers but also our airport staff and airline crew too.”

“We’ve had an amazing response so far. There was the FIFO [fly-in, fly-out] worker who hadn’t patted his dog for a month. We met a family who had recently lost their father and just wanted puppy cuddles. And a lady who had recently lost her own dog. In each of these cases, it was the conversation and connection that took place around the therapy animal that made all the difference.”

Nikki Bignell, a trainer at Therapy and Support Animals Australia and former Queensland Police Service dog handler, said, “We know that airports can be very stressful environments for some people so we’re trialing therapy dogs to help reduce anxiety and stress for travelers and of course staff. Petting a therapy animal releases endorphins, making people feel better, diminishing feelings of pain, depression and loneliness.”

Read more of the latest passenger experience updates from the passenger terminal industry, here.

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