Calgary

Calgary airport deploys furry friends to ease traveller stress

The Calgary International Airport has introduced therapy dogs in the pre-boarding areas to help calm stressed-out travellers.

Airport hopes stress of delayed flights alleviated by petting a puppy

The Calgary International Airport has introduced therapy dogs in the pre-boarding areas to help calm stressed-out travellers. 1:13

The Calgary International Airport is putting therapy dogs in its pre-boarding areas three days a week as a way to reduce stress among travellers.

"They are our pet ambassadors and their first priority is to go where there may be passengers under a little bit of anxiety or stress such as delayed flights or … long queuing in lines," said Diana Segboer with the Pet Access League Society (PALS), which provides the dogs.

Jennifer James and her soft-coated wheaten terrier, Woolly, are taking part in the dog therapy program at the Calgary International Airport. (CBC)

"Dogs just bring in puppy love ... when you start petting your dog, that just brings down your blood pressure, brings in all the good pheromones in your body."

There are 39 airports across North America offering similar programs, said Peggy Blacklock, manager of service quality at the airport.

Jennifer James, who is volunteering the services of her soft-coated wheaten terrier, Woolly, says many passengers just seem to relax at the sight of a dog. 

Dozens of airports across North America already have therapy dog programs to comfort travel-weary passengers. (CBC)

"You can feel the stress leave their body," she said. "They start hugging them, if they don't mind being licked, Woolly is a lover, so he likes to give a lot of face licks."

James said there are clearly a lot of stressed-out travellers at the airport, judging by the effect on the dogs.

"At the end of a visit, they're exhausted. You can tell that they've really put in some work," she said. 

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