Big smiles at YEG as the airport's pioneering Pet Therapy Program returns with seven dogs and their handlers, after being put on hold for the pandemic.
"It’s one of the programs that people in past years loved to see. Employees loved to see it. Anytime you can have pet therapy program going and the dogs wandering around, everybody loves it," Steve Maybee, vice president of Edmonton Airports, told CTV News.
"I think it’s more important than most people realize. Travel in itself can cause some anxiety and some stress. And people, they see the dogs and they’ll search them out, they’ll go right up, and they’ll feel better right away."
YEG launched the program in 2015. According to Maybee, it was the first airport in Canada to launch such a program.
Janet Waltho and her dog Tucker started working at YEG shortly before the pandemic, and say they are happy to be back to work. Waltho is a volunteer with the Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta, which is the organization that facilitates the pet therapy volunteer teams.
Maybee and Waltho say there are plans to add more dogs and their handlers at the airport in the "near future."
According to YEG's web site, pax can even get trading cards from the handlers that show photos of the therapy pets and include more information about them.