Beach holidays, trips to Byron and market adventures have packed Gary the Gold Coast Airport therapy dog’s itinerary in the past 12 months – but he is set to return to work greeting passengers as flight numbers ramp up.
Gary the Gold Coast Airport therapy dog, who is part of the ambassaPAW program, will set tails wagging when he returns to the terminal from this week. The program was paused as part of COVID-19 management measures.
The ambassaPAW program enlists the help of trained therapy dogs to help members of the traveling public who may be nervous flyers or are experiencing any other anxieties or apprehensions, as well as the wider customer base, to have a more enjoyable airport experience.
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said Gary would be back in the terminal three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – with some new safety measures in place.
“We are thrilled to have Gary back in the terminal – he has an amazing positive impact on passengers and the airport team,” she said.
“We have made some COVID-safe changes to Gary’s set up and are asking passengers to ‘paws’ before they pat, so physical distancing can be maintained.
“We know some people are apprehensive about flying and that may be exacerbated in the current environment. There are clear therapeutic benefits of animals when it comes to helping humans and Gary is here to make the journey a little easier.”
Ms Charlton said Gary’s return came at the perfect time, as flight and passenger numbers continued to climb at Gold Coast Airport.
“Our full domestic network is back in operation and we had our busiest weekend in more than a year at Easter – with an average of 12,500 passengers a day over the long weekend,” she said.
“We are continuing to deliver a range of hygiene and communication measures to help keep our passengers safe, as flight and passenger numbers increase, and we would ask everyone to please follow these directions. Most importantly, wear a mask in and around the terminal”