Mumbai airport becomes the first Indian airport to employ two Labradors at its international departure terminal. Many passengers are aware of sniffer dogs help the security staff however, these Labradors will perform the task of helping special kids and passengers who suffer from anxiety and fear.
After the 9/11 attacks, US airport employed therapy dogs to comfort stressed fliers in 2013.
“The feedback to our pilot project which started 10 days ago was overwhelming. People did not expect such an initiative.” Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson told Hindustan Times.
Therapy dogs, Goldie and Pepe have been trained by the Animal Angels Therapy Centre in Pune. The dogs can sense a person’s mood by sniffing them.
A passenger flying from Chicago was the first to meet Goldie and Pepe. He was stressed and low when he arrived at the airport because had missed his flight due to a miscommunication with the airline, and had a daylong wait at the terminal. His purpose for coming to India was to bury his mother. There was nothing that could comfort him until he met the therapy dogs at the airport. He had come back to India after 25 long years.
He wrote in the feedback form: “What an amazing and needed facet of airports. After a long painful day at the Mumbai airport. Goldie and Pepe brought ‘humanity’ into an otherwise dehumanising experience.”
A reduction in heat rate and blood pressure among travelers is noticed after they meet the therapy dogs.
“Primarily, therapy dogs help in taking the anxiety of a long flight off people’s mind,” said Rohini Fernandes, founder Animal Angels Foundation, a centre that provides therapy dogs.
A therapy dog, named Simba, is a frequent flier with a boy suffering from autism.
Right now Goldie and Pepe do not have a lot of work because not everyone is a dog lover but if this endevour turns out as a success, the airport will soon have more therapy dogs.
News Source: Hindustan Times