Southampton International Airport has, today, employed some four-legged helpers.
The Canine Crew, a pack of therapy dogs from the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, were stationed in arrivals as well as departures along with their volunteer handlers.
Having trialled the initiative in 2019 on a temporary basis, the furry faced employees will be a semi-permanent setting at the airport and will be on patrol once a week.
On a mission to help soothe nervous flyers and passengers with hidden disabilities, the therapy dogs are fully temperament tested and highly experienced in their trade.
Commenting on the launch of Canine Crew, 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, well-being as well as mood and we are very excited to welcome them to the Southampton Airport family.
“Our sister airport in Aberdeen was the first in the country to trial Airport Therapy Dogs and we are happy to be carrying on that legacy.”
Paulette Hockley, Placement Officer at Therapy Dogs Nationwide, added: “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, which has a rehoming centre in West End. Southampton Airport will also feature a ‘Southampton Blue Cross Rescue Dog of the Week’ on its social media channels to encourage re-homing of dogs at the animal charity.
Speaking on the partnership, 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."
"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."