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Canine crew engaged at first UK Airport to help nervous fliers

Therapy dogs begin work at UK airport dog-happy
© Canine Concern Scotland Trust - Facebook

Aberdeen Airport is the first in the UK to recruit a permanent team of therapy dogs to help ease worries for nervous fliers.

By Dawn Parrish , 3 May 2019

Scottish Airport drafts in team of canine volunteers

This week, the Scottish airport will become the first to employ its own therapy dog team. After a very successful trial over the festive period, the canines will begin their regular slot on site, very soon. The volunteer team of therapy dogs includes 14 dogs of various breeds, sizes and temperaments, who will be working at the airport on different rotas.

Therapy dogs easily identified at UK airport

Sporting bandanas and high-visibility jackets, the dogs are easily noticed as they mingle with staff and passengers. Golden Retrievers, Beagles, German Shepherds and a Pug will all be involved in meeting and helping to calm nervous fliers.

Joint endeavour to help anxious passengers

Currently, many of these volunteer dogs regularly visit schools, nursing homes, universities and prisons, where their skills are put to great use. Working with Canine Concern Scotland and Therapet, the therapy dogs help to calm nerves and alleviate stress while improving wellbeing and mental health. Although the therapy dogs are used to working in various environments, this is their first venture into an airport.

How therapy dogs help to calm nervous fliers

All of the 14 therapy dogs, and their owners too, undergo many training sessions and assessments before they are allowed into practical situations.

The mere act of stroking and petting a trained therapy dog can help with the feeling of nervousness that surrounds your journey. Your blood pressure will reduce, and your heartbeat slow down. It’s a win-win situation and the dogs also get to enjoy all the attention.

This new canine crew of therapy dogs will work in pairs at the Aberdeen International Airport at various times during the week. Although not working full-time hours at present, each of the team of dogs will be in attendance during two-hour periods.