Therapy dog trial at Aberdeen Airport

What could be better than a holiday and a chance to meet some of the friendliest dogs in the country? Not a lot, right?

The first therapy dog is being trialed at Scotland’s busiest airport in an attempt to help stressed passengers feel more comfortable during their time at Aberdeen Airport. Alaskan malamute, Harley, and owner Niel Chisholm have been patrolling the site to help put flyers at ease.

CP Airport manager Fraser Bain said:

“The use of therapy dogs has become quite common in North American airports to reduce customer anxiety and improve the passenger experience but we were not aware of any such schemes in UK airports. “Harley made his first visit to the airport in March 2018 and he was an instant hit.

“He is a beautiful dog with such a gentle nature that people warmed to him straight away. “We shared pictures and videos on the airport social media channels at the time and we actually received a request from a member of the public to meet a member of their family, who was on the autistic spectrum, arriving back from their holiday.

The dog was initially used on a trial basis, but as Harley has had such a positive effect on passengers, the public want more! The playful pooch has received requests to stay at the airport in order to greet an autistic child who wanted to meet him and his owner before returning home.

Therapy dogs have been used in North American airports for years now, but the concept has just moved to the UK.

Mr Bain went on to say:
“Harley and Niel toured around the airport and we literally could see passenger’s moods changing and a smile appearing on people’s faces. “Harley provided a safe point to start conversations and his non-judgemental, accepting nature made him a perfect distraction for some people. “We are keen to explore further ways of how Harley can be of benefit to passengers travelling through the airport, whether this is linked to busier periods at the airport or tied in to help passengers with hidden disabilities. “We are looking forward to working more with Niel and Harley and receiving lots more cuddles with our gentle giant.”

Harley was adopted by Niel Chisholm, from Fife, four years ago and is expected to return to Aberdeen Airport in July.

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