For nervous flyers or for travellers with a love for dogs, something amazing has happened: therapy dogs in Canadian airports.
That’s right; man’s best friend is to the rescue again. This time, our fluffy companions are here to help your time at the airport become a less stressful and anxiety-provoking experience.
Even if you’re not one to let the hectic airport environment get the best of you, who doesn’t love a lick and scratch from a friendly pup?
Why you should get licked by therapy dogs in Canadian airports:
There are many benefits to having dogs at the airport and it’s been scientifically proven that pet therapy can lower your blood pressure, make you feel calmer, decrease feelings of stress and loneliness and lower your anxiety – just to name a few.
This program has been incredibly successful and is expanding all over Canada. Think about it – when has laying eyes on a cute dog not made you crack a smile? They may not be fetching sticks but these dogs are such to fetch you a calmer attitude as you’re walking from gate to gate.
Where to get licked by therapy dogs in Canadian airports:
Currently you can find airport therapy dogs in a number of cities across Canada including Edmonton, Winnipeg, Fort McMurray, Regina, and Saskatoon. Halifax is the latest city to embark on the Airport Therapy Dog program, making Nova Scotia the first Atlantic province to take on these uber-friendly pets.
For those frequent fliers, you may get to know these pets pretty well too. Most of them have scheduled times that they stroll around the airports (guided, of course) and with one wag of their tails bring a happier atmosphere to you and the airport.
Therapy dogs in Canadian airports
#1 Halifax (YHZ) – You can catch their seven dogs on Tuesdays and Fridays starting at 1pm – and they’re planning on growing their number of dogs as the program gets going. During Christmas they do extra shifts and so far it’s been a phenomenal success with the travellers!
#2 Fort McMurray (YMM) – The dogs are out from 6-7:30pm on the first and third Thursday of the month (tip: book you flights on Thursdays!) and are located on the 2nd floor passenger lounge area. Fort McMurray is the 4th city in Canada to offer the airport therapy dog program.
#3 Thunder Bay (YQT) – Thunder Bay Airport currently has 10 teams of dogs and handlers out and about in the airport every day of the week during various hours. Their program started in September 2015 and has been hugely successful – they even take requests to visit passengers who are scared of flying!
#4 Winnipeg (WAA) – This airport is lucky enough to have 38 therapy dogs! So far, the program is pretty new but eventually they hope to have dogs in the airport 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. This program has only been in action since December 2015.
#5 Edmonton (EIA) – There’s usually one dog + person team roaming around Edmonton airport, sometimes two, however they work by the dogs’ schedule so it can vary from day to day! Edmonton Airport was also the first airport in Canada to introduce this program back in March 2014.
#6 Regina (YQR) – One of the first airports to start the therapy dog program, Regina Airport launched over a year ago in February 2015 and currently the dogs are out on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
#7 Calgary (YYC) – Make you layover less ruff by meeting the Pre-board pals airport therapy dogs, of Calgary International Airport with their volunteer side-kicks in tow, greet visitors during peak travel times every Thursday to Saturday.
However, not all airports have been so quick to jump on board this pet-a-pet phenomenon. You won’t be seeing any dogs at Vancouver Airport (they’ve done a trial program, but it’s yet to be set in motion), Victoria International Airport or at Pearson in Toronto – just yet, that is.
“At this time we do not have therapy dogs at the airport. However, we are always open to new ideas,” commented Shabeen Hanifa, Senior Advisor of Communications at Toronto Pearson Airport.
Next time you’re having a ruff time on your travels, seek out one of the therapy dogs in Canadian airports! We promise you’ll love it.