Emotional support dogs introduced at Southampton Airport to help nervous flyers

Introducing the Canine Crew

Therapy dogs at Southampton airport
Therapy dogs at Southampton airport

A pack of therapy dogs has been introduced at Southampton Airport to help nervous flyers.

Known as the Canine Crew, the dogs, provided by charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, will be on patrol in arrivals and departures once a week.

Their primary role will be to soothe travellers who have hidden disabilities or are anxious about flying.

The Canine Crew are highly trained and fully temperament tested.

“Having therapy dogs in our airport will not only benefit our passengers but also our staff,“ Simon Young, the airport’s head of passenger operations, said of the move.

The dogs will be at Southampton airport once a week

”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.

“Our sister airport in Aberdeen was the first in the country to trial Airport Therapy Dogs and we are happy to be carrying on that legacy.”

The initiative was first trialled in 2019 on a temporary basis, but proved so successful that the airport has decided to continue it on a semi-permanent basis.

“We are very privileged to have passionate volunteers who keep our charity running by taking their own dogs into establishments to give comfort, distraction and stimulation,“ said Paulette Hockley, placement officer at Therapy Dogs Nationwide.

“We are looking forward to working with Southampton Airport and sharing the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy with both passengers and team members.”

Southampton isn’t the first airport to enlist the skills of four-legged helpers.

In 2017, Cincinnati/Northern Ohio Airport introduced therapy miniature horses in a bid to calm down stressed travellers passing through its doors.

Twice a month, the check-in area received a visit from a pair of therapy horses provided by Seven Oaks Farm in Ohio.

The horses had undergone special training to deal with the stresses and strains of the airport. They were so popular that some passengers even scheduled flights around their appearances.

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