Southampton International Airport has announced it will appoint a group of therapy dogs to aid nervous passengers.
The ‘Canine Crew’, a pack of therapy dogs from Therapy Dogs Nationwide, will be “on a mission” to help soothe nervous fliers and passengers with hidden disabilities.
The dogs will be stationed in departures and arrivals, alongside volunteer handlers, and all dogs have been fully-trained for their roles. The initiative was first trialled in 2019, and the dogs will now work on a semi-permanent basis at the airport, patrolling once a week.
Simon Young, head of passenger operations at Southampton Airport, 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, well-being as well as mood and we are very excited to welcome them to the Southampton Airport family.”
Paulette Hockley, placement officer at Therapy Dogs Nationwide, said: “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.
“We are looking forward to working with Southampton Airport and sharing the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy with both passengers and team members.”
The launch of Southampton Airport’s ‘Canine Crew’ coincided with a charity collection for national pet charity, Blue Cross. The airport will feature a ‘Southampton Blue Cross Rescue Dog of the Week’ on its social media to encourage re-homing of dogs at the charity.
Kirsty Smith, rehoming supervisor at Blue Cross Southampton, added: “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.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of the ‘Canine Crew’ campaign and what a wonderful way to help get homeless dogs loving new homes – some of our rescues even go on to be therapy dogs themselves. All donations will go towards helping us give a better life to homeless pets whilst we try to find them new families.”