Toronto Pearson International Airport knows that air travel can be a bit stressful for some people. So, in an effort to remedy this, passengers can now enjoy the company of over a dozen therapy dogs to help calm their nerves before boarding their flights.
Canada’s largest airport has welcomed 15 dogs from the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program who will happily roam through Terminals 1 and 3, bringing plenty of love and joy to passengers who might be feeling anxious before their flight. Whether feeling the stress of the exhausting pre-flight process or anxiety about the flight itself, these people can fly a little easier after spending some quality time with a furry friend beforehand.
“At Toronto Pearson, passengers are our passion, and critical to that mission is ensuring all passengers feel relaxed and comfortable while traveling through our airport,” Scott Collier, Vice President of Customer and Terminal Services at Pearson told News Wire. “We know that traveling can be stressful, and a friendly visit with a therapy dog can make all the difference in the world to anxious travelers.”
He added, “Seeing people smile when they meet and experience the unconditional love of a therapy dog in our terminals is both comforting and rewarding.”
Passengers waiting to board their planes are encouraged to approach the dogs, who can be easily recognized by their red and white St. John Ambulance bandanas, and pet them as needed. These helpful dogs include Bella, Ringo Starr, Snickers, Kahlua, and several others, all accompanied by handlers who can be identified via their blue Pearson airport vests.
For many people, the act of engaging with therapy dogs can have quite a positive effect on reducing, if not eliminating, any nagging feelings of stress or anxiety. These four-legged furry friends are more than happy to cuddle up to people and help them relax. Plus, they get lots of love and attention, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Larry Shack, the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Toronto Pearson Program Coordinator, told News Wire the organization is proud to be partnering with the airport to help alleviate stress among travelers.
“Our therapy dog teams are honored to continue our tradition of community service by bringing the benefits of therapy dogs to passengers at Toronto Pearson and helping them feel relaxed and comfortable while traveling through the airport,” he said.
According to their website, St. John Ambulance’s therapy dog program currently has over 3000 dogs who visit hospitals, schools, and various communities across Canada. These dogs offer unconditional affection to those who might need it most and are always eager to meet new people, making them the perfect animals to calm anxious travelers. Pearson alone sees a reported 40 million people travel in and out of its airport each year, so these dogs can expect plenty of belly rubs and head pats in their future!