HOUNDS OF LOVE – QUEBEC AIRPORT INTRODUCES THERAPY DOGS
Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) has become the latest gateway to launch a pet therapy project to help relieve the ‘travel stress’ of passengers.
According to the Canadian gateway, the eight-week initiative is designed to comfort travellers who may be feeling anxious or stressed before flying while allowing students to gain experience in a real-life environment.
The scheme has been launched in partnership with Quebec City based college, Cégep de la Pocatière.
YQB’s vice president of operations, Marc-André Bédard, said: “Many travellers are afraid of flying to some degree. Heart palpitations, increased sweating, difficulty breathing… for many people, the anxiety and discomfort can begin well before takeoff.
“Even the sight of the terminal can make it worse. At YQB, we make sure to do everything we can to provide the utmost reassuring experience for the thousands of travellers we see each week.
“For example, the terminal’s large, bright waiting areas have been specifically designed to be calming. Furthermore, our Passenger Experience team is always at the airport to answer travellers’ questions and give them the support they need.
“Today, thanks to a promising collaboration with the Cégep de La Pocatière, we are pleased to be offering pet therapy to travellers in the greater Québec City area.”
As many other airports have proved over the years, having therapy dogs in the terminal helps build a rapport between the handler and the travellers.
The presence of a dog, even if it is only for a few minutes, gives anxious travellers something else to think about. It redirects attention, helping to reduce stress, anxiety and worry.
And of course, it makes people smile. As of February 9, 2020, students in the Intervention Strategies in Animal Therapy ACS programme at EXTRA Formation, Cégep de La Pocatière’s continuing education programme, will join teachers and their dogs to work with passengers in the secure area of the terminal building.
The teams will be at the airport during busy periods for eight weeks.
“We are very proud to offer a formal pet therapy service at the airport, provided by budding professionals and supervised by a qualified teaching team in a training programme recognised by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education,” enthused Marie-Claude Deschênes, director general of the Cégep de La Pocatière.
“This new internship option for our ACS students in Intervention Strategies in Animal Therapy, which concludes their 585 hours of training, allows them to enhance their experience in a unique environment.”