Gold Coast Airport has recruited a furry new team member to assist passengers who need emotional support before flying – Gary, a Labrador Cross therapy dog.
The initiative is aimed at helping members of the traveling public who may be nervous flyers or are experiencing any other anxieties or apprehensions, as well as our wider customer base, to have a more enjoyable airport experience.
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the therapeutic impact of animals was well known and it made sense to have Gary on hand to assist those passengers who struggled with the stress of flying.
“A growing body of evidence points to the therapeutic benefits of animals when it comes to helping humans,” Ms Charlton said.
“Therapy dogs have become popular in airports overseas, particularly in the United States where they are common place but they are still quite a new phenomenon in Australia.
“We know travelling can be stressful for many people and for years we have been concerned with ensuring people with more visible disabilities are well cared for, now we are able to turn our attention to do what we can to help those with more hidden disabilities.
“The introduction of our AmbassaPAW Programme brings together months of planning and training and we are confident it will be well received by the travelling public.”
The AmbassaPaw Programme follows the launch of a similar initiative at Gold Coast Airport’s sister port – Townsville Airport – in April, where it has proved extremely popular with passengers and staff alike.
Gary will be stationed in the main check-in hall inside the Gold Coast Airport terminal and will be on hand to meet and greet guests with a friendly wag and a furry cuddle at designated times each week.
Born: January 29, 2017
Breed: Labrador X
Favourite thing: His soccer ball and the beach
Favourite TV Show: David Attenborough
Best Friend: Angus the Dalmation
Dislikes: Rainy days, bedtime and vegetables
Special abilities: Rolling in mud, posing for photos, hugs and pats,swimming