The following article was written by Carrie Leslie for Inside Vancouver on August 22nd.
Feeling anxious about your next flight? Perhaps spending a few minutes gushing over a dog would do you good? To the delight of everyone with aviophobia, YVR Airport has just announced a new dog therapy program!
The program, aptly named “LASI” (Less Airport Stress Initiative) brings Ambassador Dogs from St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program into the YVR terminal to help manage anxiety associated with travelling, work and general stress.
Starting this week, YVR Airport will host seven different Ambassador Dogs around the terminal. The therapy dogs will be onsite Mondays through Fridays, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. If you’re lucky enough to be flying during that time, you’ll get a chance to meet either Molly, Bailey, Mira, Norman, Grover, Kermode or Soda (or all 7!) for some quality time before your flight.
“We know that traveling can sometimes be stressful,” said Reg Krake, director of customer care for the Vancouver Airport Authority.
“Having the ambassador dogs on site for our passengers gives them a new way to manage that anxiety and stress.”
The dogs will be easy to spot with their St. John’s bandanas and YVR leashes. Their handlers will also remain beside them, able to answer any questions.
If you’re feeling a little timid about going up to the dogs, don’t worry! YVR Ambassador Dogs are specifically trained to be interacted with. The next time you’re travelling through YVR and are feeling a little anxious, make sure to say hello to one of the therapy dogs for a little boost of something special.
The LASI program will be a permanent addition to the terminal and there will be at least two dogs, sometimes more than that, roaming the airport, both pre and post-security.
In case you’re worried about all the extra attention the dogs will be getting, YVR will be putting in precautions to avoid animal exhaustion. There will be no 40 hour work weeks for these pups! The airport offers quiet areas for dogs to take a break. Shifts are capped at two hours for each dog, Gerber said. If there are signs of stress, the handler will end the dog’s shift early.
There’s no official word on whether the doggy visiting hours will be extended, but for the time being the dogs are here to stay!