For some people, flying in a plane is the worst part of any long-haul journey, and can be quite traumatic. If you're a nervous flier yourself, you're not alone. Big celebrities such as Kendall Jenner have come forward and opened up the anxiety they get while they are flying. There are a number of techniques like deep breathing and remedies you can employ to relax before a flight, but now one airport in the UK is trying something different. Aberdeen airport has therapy dogs to calm nervous fliers, and now it's the only airport I want to fly out from.
The idea is that these therapy dogs will help ease the anxiety some people feel when it comes to flying. According to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD):
"Dogs make such effective therapy animals because of their sensitivities to human emotion. They have been proven time and time again to show sympathy and empathy by nuzzling or whining when they sense a human is sad or in general emotional distress."
And the ATD also says: "Just the presence of a therapy dog will help take a person’s mind off of all their worries, physical or emotional pains, and anxieties," so it's likely that they will be a positive presence for nervous fliers.
This is a pretty unique idea, and Aberdeen airport will be the first in the UK to have therapy dogs, according to Metro, following a successful trial over the festive season (therapy dogs have previously been used in academic institutions such as Warwick University to help students relieve stress). The new initiative will kick off on May 4, the Independent reports, and have been nicknamed the "Canine Crew." Aberdeen airport states: "The Canine Crew, easily identifiable in their high vis jackets and bandanas, will mingle with passengers and staff to work their animal magic both landside and airside throughout the terminal."
According to Aberdeen airport, there will be 14 dogs in total including German shepherds, golden retrievers, beagles, a pug, a Leonberger, and a Utongan. Aberdeen Airport Manager Fraser Bain has said:
“We’re excited to be the first airport in the UK to offer this service to passengers. As well as benefitting our visitors, we also recognise the benefit to the mental health and wellbeing of our staff. The Canine Crew is made up of a variety of dogs, with a mixture of brilliant traits and personalities and we cannot wait to see the reaction of our passengers.”
To be honest, looking at how adorable these dogs are has made me want to book a plane to have a cuddle with one of these pups. Seriously.
Diane Wood, the trustee of Therapet, the charity who has provided the dogs for Aberdeen airport has said:
"All our dogs — and their owners — have undergone rigorous training and assessment to work in a variety of environments and the dogs are used to being stroked and petted and generally made a fuss of so they will lap up the attention and thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to interact with passengers and staff. The mere action of stroking a dog slows down the heartbeat and reduces blood pressure so they will be a great help to anyone feeling nervous about their journey. The dogs will work in pairs, for two hours at a time once a week and we plan to keep everybody updated about what dogs are visiting and when."
Dogs working in pairs is quite literally double the fun.
Can more airports do this, please? The world definitely needs more therapy dogs.