If you have a fear of flying, you will be all too familiar with the foreboding feeling that creeps up in the weeks, days and hours before boarding. That’s why passengers will no doubt appreciate any comfort offered, and what could help calm you down more than an adorable dog? With that in mind, Southampton Airport has unveiled some furry, four-legged helpers that will be on hand to assist anxious travellers.
Announced recently, The Canine Crew are a pack of trained therapy dogs from the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, who will be stationed in arrivals and departures along with volunteer handlers. As well as being present to help soothe passengers that may be feeling uneasy about taking to the skies, the dogs are also highly trained to recognise and calm travellers that have hidden disabilities.
Having first trialled the initiative on a temporary basis last year, the decision was taken to make the dogs semi-permanent at the airport and to have them on patrol once a week. The animals will definitely get plenty of attention, as in 2018 the airport welcomed more than two million passengers.
“Four-legged companions are well known for boosting general happiness, wellbeing, as well as mood, and we are very excited to welcome them to the Southampton Airport family. Having therapy dogs in our airport will not only benefit our passengers but also our staff,” Simon Young, head of Passenger Operations at Southampton Airport said.
The Launch of The Canine Crew coincided with a collection for national pet charity, Blue Cross, which has a rehoming centre in the West End. Southampton Airport also plans to feature a “Southampton Blue Cross Rescue Dog of the Week” on its social media channels to encourage re-homing of dogs at the animal charity.
Southampton’s sister airport Aberdeen Airport was the first to trial therapy dogs before the southern location took up the idea.