Southampton Airport introduces therapy dogs to help nervous flyers with anxiety
18 January 2020, 17:02
The 'Canine Crew' includes three Golden Retrievers, two German Shepherds, two Beagles, a Leonberger and a Pug.
Southampton Airport has introduced therapy dogs to help nervous passengers with a fear of flying.
The 'Canine Crew' will be stationed at arrivals and departures offering support to anxious travellers and those with hidden disabilities.
The four-legged friends, from animal charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, will patrol the Hampshire airport once a week in a bid to make flying a more pleasant experience for those in need.
After passing a series of tests which took at temperament and experience, fourteen dogs – including three Golden Retrievers, two German Shepherds, two Beagles, a Leonberger and a Pug – will be on hand for holidaymakers to stroke.
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We're very pleased to announce that several TDN dogs are going to be visiting Southampton Airport regularly to calm the nerves of anxious flyers and generally get people into the holiday mood! Here are some fabulous photos from the launch event. www.tdn.org.uk #therapydogsnationwide #therapydogsofinstagram #therapydogsthursday #therapydog #therapydogsrock #airporttherapydogs #southamptonairport #nervousflyer
Simon Young, Head of Passenger Operations, said: "Having therapy dogs in our airport will not only benefit our passengers but also our staff.
"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."
According to Southampton's Passenger Ops team, simply stroking a dog can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and spark a sense of calm in passengers feeling nervous about stepping foot on a plane.
Furry companions can also improve confidence and communication.
The pawtastic group will be a semi-permanent fixture at Southampton International – an airport which follows in Aberdeen's muddy footprints.
The Scottish airbase, set in the northeast of the country, was the first UK airport to trial the initiative of using animals to help anxious flyers.
Numerous studies have found that therapy dogs boost general wellbeing and offer comfort, affection, distraction and stimulation to those who suffer with a range of mental illnesses, as well as those who are elderly, anxious or socially isolated.
In fact, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) has become increasingly popularity in recent years, with well-behaved dogs being sent into care homes, hospitals, offices and even schools.
Speaking of the partnership, Kirsty Smith, Rehoming Supervisor at Blue Cross Southampton, said: "We see every day how incredible pets are and how much of a benefit they bring to our lives; through the joy they bring and often helping alleviate our stress and worry in difficult situations."