Gold Coast Airport’s successful therapy dog program is expanding, with the adorable French Bulldog Ranji on site from this week.
Ranji will join the airport’s existing therapy dog Gary, a golden Labrador cross, who has been visiting the terminal three times a week since the program launched last December.
The initiative has proven so successful – particularly with young children and nervous flyers – that the airport team has recruited additional support.
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the team was focused on doing what they could to improve customer experience, with the therapy dog program a key part of that effort.
“The response we get from our guests when they spot Gary in the terminal is incredible,” she said.
“I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they spot Ellen or Tom walking with Gary. Children love to come along and have a pat and a hug with Gary, so we’re delighted to expand the program with Ranji.”
Ranji already has valuable experience as a therapy dog, having been purchased as a puppy by the Macdonald family during the rehabilitation of their son following a workplace accident.
Ranji and his owner, Janet Macdonald, have undergone extensive training with an accredited therapy dog provider ahead of commencement of work in the terminal this week.
“We call Ranji our little earth angel,” she said.
“He has brought such love into our lives since we got him and has helped all of us to cope with the devastating effects of the trauma following my son’s accident. He literally goes everywhere with us and loves people.”
Ms Macdonald knows Gold Coast Airport well, having previously worked in the terminal for five years before stepping aside to spend more time to help with her son’s recovery.
Ms Charlton said an unexpected bonus of the therapy dog program had been its overwhelmingly positive reception from not only the travelling public, but staff too, with Ranji expected to have a similar affect.
Between our two dog ambassadors, Gary and Ranji, the therapy dog program will operate every morning in the terminal, from Monday to Friday.
Breed: French Bulldog
Favourite thing: ANZAC biscuits and blanket forts
Part time job: Apprentice mechanic at Dad’s workshop
Best friend: Benson the Border Collie/Blue Heeler Cross
Special abilities: Making people happy, hugs and pats, wearing costumes