Brisbane Airport has begun trialling therapy dogs in its domestic terminal, to reduce stress for anxious passengers.
The trial initiative brings canine ambassadors into the terminal to provide furry support to manage any potential anxiety.
Head of Communications and Brand Marketing at Brisbane Airport Corporation, Sarah Whyte, said therapy dogs are in use in a growing number of airports around the world to calm nerves and help people de-stress.
“Who doesn’t love a puppy? Not only have we had really positive feedback from travellers but also our airport staff and airline crew too,” Ms Whyte said.
“We’ve had an amazing response so far. There was the FIFO worker who hadn’t patted his dog for a month. We met a family who had recently lost their father who just wanted puppy cuddles. And a lady who had recently lost her own dog. In each of these cases, it was the conversation and connection that took place around the therapy animal that made all the difference.”
Taking part in the trial are Cooper the Labradoodle, Kevin the Sheepadoodle and four puppies in training. All come from Therapy and Support Animals Australia.
Trainer, Nikki Bignell, is a former Queensland Police Service dog handler.
“We know that airports can be very stressful environments for some people so we’re trialling therapy dogs to help reduce anxiety and stress for travellers and of course staff,” Ms Bignell said.
“Petting a therapy animal releases endorphins making people feel better, diminishing feelings of pain, depression and loneliness.”