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A UK Airport Has Introduced Therapy Dogs For Nervous Flyers

A UK Airport Has Introduced Therapy Dogs For Nervous Flyers

A UK airport has brought in a squad of four-legged employees to help with nervous flyers.

Southampton Airport's newest recruits, known as the Canine Crew, include three golden retrievers, two German Shepherds, two beagles and a pug.

The hard-working pooches are all certified therapy dogs, experienced in providing comfort and distraction for people in distress.

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Trained by the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TND), the care-giving canines are part of a semi-permanent programme rolled out by Southampton Airport's Passenger Operations team, and will be on patrol once a week.

The mental health benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) have already made the service a hit in schools, care homes and hospitals. (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)
The mental health benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) have already made the service a hit in schools, care homes and hospitals. (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)

The mental health benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) have already made the service a hit in schools, care homes and hospitals.

Time spent with a furry companion is known to be deeply calming and improve confidence, communication and general wellbeing.

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For people living with disabilities, or for those who are elderly or isolated, a therapy dog can transform their lives.

AAT is only just beginning to be introduced to airports, though. Aberdeen Airport was the first in the UK to use therapy dogs.

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The simple act of stroking a dog can reduce heart rate and blood pressure (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)
The simple act of stroking a dog can reduce heart rate and blood pressure (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)

For anxious flyers, this could be a game-changer. According to Southampton's Passenger Ops team, the simple act of stroking a dog can be incredibly soothing.

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On a medical level, that means reduced blood pressure and heart rate ahead of a flight.

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."

The measure could see similar Canine Crews rolled out at airports across the country (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)
The measure could see similar Canine Crews rolled out at airports across the country (Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide)
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Southampton Airport's Pooch Patrol runs in partnership with a charity collection for national pet charity, Blue Cross.

Talking about the collaboration, 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."

The measure could see similar Canine Crews rolled out at airports across the country.

Featured Image Credit: Therapy Dogs Nationwide

Topics: Life News, News, Dogs

Mary-Jane Wiltsher

Mary-Jane Wiltsher is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist. Elsewhere she writes for Stylist, Euronews, PHOENIX and What We Seee.