If you’re visiting the Kelowna International Airport you could possibly be greeted by a furry pal.
The airport launched its ‘ambassadog’ program to travellers again in 2017. With lengthy wait occasions and delayed flights, the objective is for the dogs to alleviate pressure usually felt on the airport.
“We started to realize that people come to the airport with some anxiety and some stress,” stated Airport Operations senior supervisor Phillip Elchitz. “Either they’ve been up late the night before or they’ve gotten up early, have some children with them. Maybe they’re afraid of flying.”
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“It’s great to provide a little bit of comfort, a little bit of therapy for their trip,” stated ambassadog coordinator Pauline Harmatny. “We had an overwhelming response from the public, as well as the staff here at the airport so we decided to go ahead and work with the city.”
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The pups not solely go to passengers checking in to their flights however these about to board. In some circumstances, they’ve been the explanation youngsters board their flights.
“We had a young girl last week, she was four years old and she was crying underneath the seats in the passenger boarding area,” Harmatny stated her canine then proceeded to stroll as much as the kid. “She comforted her and her parents were so thankful they were able to get her on the aircraft.”
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It initially began as a pilot venture with Kelowna Caring Canines, a non-revenue group that goals to construct a powerful bond between dogs and people.
The ‘ambassadog’ program was full-time on the Kelowna International Airport earlier than the pandemic. Currently, the 4-legged buddies are solely on the airport a couple of days every week. However, with their recognition, YLW is seeking to change that.
“As time goes on we’ll slowly start to build the program back to where it was, we’d like to see them here 7 days a week,” added Elchitz.