In the event you’re visiting the Kelowna Worldwide Airport you may be greeted by a furry buddy.
The airport launched its ‘ambassadog’ program to travellers again in 2017. With lengthy wait instances and delayed flights, the objective is for the canines to alleviate stress usually felt on the airport.
“We began to comprehend that individuals come to the airport with some anxiousness and a few stress,” mentioned Airport Operations senior supervisor Phillip Elchitz. “Both they’ve been up late the night time earlier than or they’ve gotten up early, have some youngsters with them. Perhaps they’re afraid of flying.”
“It’s nice to supply a bit little bit of consolation, a bit little bit of remedy for his or her journey,” mentioned ambassadog coordinator Pauline Harmatny. “We had an awesome response from the general public, in addition to the workers right here on the airport so we determined to go forward and work with town.”
The pups not solely go to passengers checking in to their flights however these about to board. In some circumstances, they’ve been the rationale youngsters board their flights.
“We had a younger woman final week, she was 4 years outdated and he or she was crying beneath the seats within the passenger boarding space,” Harmatny mentioned her canine then proceeded to stroll as much as the kid. “She comforted her and her mother and father had been so grateful they had been in a position to get her on the plane.”
It initially began as a pilot venture with Kelowna Caring Canines, a non-profit group that goals to construct a robust bond between canines and people.
The ‘ambassadog’ program was full-time on the Kelowna Worldwide Airport earlier than the pandemic. At present, the four-legged pals are solely on the airport a couple of days per week. Nonetheless, with their recognition, YLW is trying to change that.
“As time goes on we’ll slowly begin to construct this system again to the place it was, we’d prefer to see them right here 7 days per week,” added Elchitz.