Flying can be stressful. Whether it's long flight delays, getting pulled aside for random screening at security, or just the simple fact that you're about to be thousands of feet up in the air, there is always something to stress you out. One Canadian airport is trying to fix that though. Toronto's Pearson Airport just hired 15 therapy dogs to keep you company while you wait for your flight.
The new therapy dog program comes out of a partnership with St John Ambulance, who currently run therapy dog programs in hospitals, schools, and various communities across Canada. The program has over 3000 dogs and now some of them and their handlers are joining the volunteer Welcome Team at Pearson.
The 15 dogs specifically coming to Pearson Airport are Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie. As part of their new role at the airport, the dogs will be roaming around both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 to greet passengers and make their flying experience a little less stressful.
Passengers will now be able to pet and cuddle the dogs for a little bit as they make their way through the airport in order to take away some of the anxiety and stress that comes with flying.
According to St John Ambulance, who runs the therapy dog program, the dogs offer several benefits. Individuals who have interacted with therapy dogs tend to find stress relief, a distraction from pain, comfort, and a sense of calm.
That is what Pearson, which serves over 40 million people per year, is hoping to bring to its passengers by introducing this program.
Scott Collier, who is the Vice President of Customer and Terminal Services at Pearson said in a news release that he hopes the program makes travel more enjoyable for passengers.
"At Toronto Pearson, passengers are our passion, and critical to that mission is ensuring all passengers feel relaxed and comfortable while travelling through our airport," he said. "We know that travelling can be stressful, and a friendly visit with a therapy dog can make all the difference in the world to anxious travellers.
The 15 new dogs and their handlers will volunteer in both of Pearson's terminals. They will be working in rotating shifts through the week.