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GCA's Therapy Dog Program goes from strength to strength

September 19, 2023

Gold Coast Airport has welcomed some ‘paw-some’ new team members to the terminal, with three new therapy dogs joining the AmbassaPAW program in recent weeks.

The initiative, which was launched in 2018, is designed to ease the stress and anxiety that can sometimes be associated with travelling, as well as making the overall airport experience for customers more enjoyable.

Chappie – a Groodle, Bonnie – a Beagle x French Bulldog and Lucy – a Lowchen were selected through the airport’s new partnership with local dog trainer Found by the Hound, and join Quincy the black Labrador who became part of the airport team earlier this year.

QAL Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the airport was excited to be expanding the AmbassaPAW program.

“This is a really exciting milestone for us in the history of this program, as it is the most therapy dogs we’ve ever had at one time,” Ms Charlton said.

“Since we launched the AmbassaPAW initiative the feedback from our customers has been extremely positive, our therapy dogs have shown to make a real difference to passengers’ experience in the terminal and have become an important extension of our team.”

“During peak periods, like school holidays at the moment when the airport is quite busy, our AmbassaPAWS are really helpful in putting smiles on customers’ faces and helping people feel more relaxed,” she said.

“In July we lost a very important member of our team, Gary, who was our very first therapy dog and this program really is his legacy – so today we also unveiled a brand-new space for our AmbassaPAWs that pays tribute to Gary’s contribution of more than five years with us,” she said.

“Our AmbassaPAWs also form an important element of our Hidden Disability initiative – comforting customers on their journey through our airport from check-in to boarding.”

Through Gold Coast Airport’s partnership with Found by the Hound, each therapy dog undergoes specific training and testing to ensure they’re suited to a busy airport environment.

An additional three dogs are still being recruited, which will allow the airport to have one therapy dog on paw-trol every day.

The therapy dogs work alongside the airport’s Ambassador program which is now made up of 56 volunteers.


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