Fliers leaving and arriving at Edmonton International Airport have a new way to relax that doesn’t involve buying overpriced chocolate peanuts or tacky souvenirs.
In a first for Canada, YEG now has a few new employees. Their main job? Soothing nervous travellers by letting themselves be hugged.
On their first day on the job, the therapy dogs helped passengers on a tough day.
A snowstorm delayed flights leaving many passengers with nothing to do but wait.
Traveller Barek Girard told Global Edmonton that he could use a smile. He spent three hours at the airport waiting for a flight home to Quebec City and before that, had pulled an all-nighter working.
When Remy, one of the YEG’s therapy dog showed up, Girard got some attention.
No one else is coming by to see me so at least the dog is.”
Another traveler Helene Guillemette says seeing Remy lifted her spirits.
And my face is cleaner because now she’s licked all this thing off my chin.
The program is run in conjunction with Edmonton’s Pet Therapy Society, an organization that also takes critters to hospices and hospitals.
Lori Goodwin says the timing was good to launch the Edmonton program because a blizzard had snowbound many passengers.
Lots of people missed their flights, flights were delayed. People were stressed.
Volunteers walk the animals through the terminals three times a week, bringing smiles to harried flyers.
Pet therapy has been used before at airports. Here’s a video from Miami International Airport where a dog name Casey is there to make new friends.
The Edmonton airport is the first to use pet therapy at a Canadian airport.
Photo credit: @GlobalEdmonton