UK’s first airport therapy dog is calming nervous passengers at one of Scotland’s busiest airports 

  • Alaskan malamute Harley has been working in the terminal at Aberdeen Airport
  • Passengers are allowed to stroke the dog and play with him to calm their nerves
  • Studies have found that petting animals helps to calm fliers down
  • Airport bosses say passengers’ faces light up when they see Harley in terminal

Jennifer Newton for MailOnline

The UK’s first airport therapy dog has been easing the nerves of stressed-out passengers at one of Scotland’s busiest airports.

Alaskan malamute Harley has been walking around the terminal at Aberdeen International Airport in the past week alongside owner Niel Chisholm, from Fife, in a bid to calm those who have a fear of flying.

Passengers can stroke the dog and play with him, with studies having shown that petting an animal can reduce stress.

Alaskan malamute Harley, the UK's first airport therapy dog, who is working at Aberdeen International Airport

Alaskan malamute Harley, the UK's first airport therapy dog, who is working at Aberdeen International Airport

Alaskan malamute Harley, the UK’s first airport therapy dog, who is working at Aberdeen International Airport

Passengers can stroke the dog and play with him, with studies having shown that petting an animal can reduce stress 

Passengers can stroke the dog and play with him, with studies having shown that petting an animal can reduce stress 

Passengers can stroke the dog and play with him, with studies having shown that petting an animal can reduce stress 

Harley was initially brought in on a trial basis to help frustrated passengers flying out of Aberdeen.

But now he will be returning to the airport in July after airport bosses were impressed with how popular he was with passengers – including one who asked if Harley could meet her autistic son on their return to Aberdeen.

Airport manager Fraser Bain explained: ‘The use of therapy dogs has become quite common in North American airports to reduce customer anxiety and improve the passenger experience but we were not aware of any such schemes in UK airports.

‘Harley made his first visit to the airport in March 2018 and he was an instant hit.

Harley was initially brought in on a trial basis to help frustrated passengers flying out of Aberdeen but he will be returning to the airport in July 

Harley was initially brought in on a trial basis to help frustrated passengers flying out of Aberdeen but he will be returning to the airport in July 

Harley was initially brought in on a trial basis to help frustrated passengers flying out of Aberdeen but he will be returning to the airport in July 

‘He is a beautiful dog with such a gentle nature that people warmed to him straight away.’

And Mr Bain added that that he could see passengers’ faces light up when the dog walked around the airport.

He said: ‘Harley and Niel toured around the airport and we literally could see passengers’ moods changing and a smile appearing on people’s faces.

Alaskan malamute Harle, who has been putting passengers at ease at Aberdeen International Airport

Alaskan malamute Harle, who has been putting passengers at ease at Aberdeen International Airport

An airport staff member poses with Harley

An airport staff member poses with Harley

Airport bosses say passengers’ faces light up when they see Harley in the terminal. Pictured right is Harley with one of the airport staff. Airport manager Fraser Bain explained: ‘The use of therapy dogs has become quite common in North American airports to reduce customer anxiety and improve the passenger experience but we were not aware of any such schemes in UK airports’

‘Harley provided a safe point to start conversations and his non-judgmental, accepting nature made him a perfect distraction for some people.

‘We are keen to explore further ways of how Harley can be of benefit to passengers travelling through the airport, whether this is linked to busier periods at the airport or tied in to help passengers with hidden disabilities.

‘We are looking forward to working more with Niel and Harley and receiving lots more cuddles with our gentle giant.’

 

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