Therapy dogs stationed at UK airport to help nervous flyers

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Many people in the UK are nervous flyers, however a UK airport has come up with a fur-proof way to make flights more enjoyable for them.

At Southhampton International Airport, therapy dogs are being stationed at both arrivals and departures to help passengers with hidden disabilities and those who have a fear of flying. 

It is a semi-permanent feature at the airport and the dogs will be on patrol once a week. The dogs from the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, are fully temperament tested and experienced in their trade. Simon Young Head of Passenger Operations said: ‘Having therapy dogs in our airport will not only benefit our passengers but also out 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 Southhampton Airport family’.

The first airport in the UK to use dogs, to help anxious flyers was Aberdeen Airport in May 2018. Fourteen dogs, including three golden retrievers, two German Shepherds, two beagles and a Leonberger and a pug, became part of the crew. It is becoming a really popular trend, with dogs being sent into care homes, schools and hospitals. They are trained to provide affection, comfort and support to people who are socially isolated or suffer mental illness.

It was found there are many benefits of the dogs including, health and wellbeing, increased confidence and improved communication skills. Airport bosses have said that when you are stroking a dog, it can slow down the heartbeat and reduce blood pressure, which is great for anyone feeling nervous about their journey. 

Kirsty Smith, who is a Rehoming Supervisor at Blue Cross Southhampton 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’.

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Written by

Lizzie Day