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Kelowna airport service dogs soothe stressed travellers – Okanagan

In the event you’re visiting the Kelowna International Airport you could possibly be greeted by a furry buddy.

The airport launched its ‘ambassadog’ program to travellers again in 2017. With lengthy wait occasions and delayed flights, the aim is for the dogs to alleviate rigidity usually felt on the airport.

“We began to comprehend that individuals come to the airport with some anxiousness and a few stress,” stated Airport Operations senior supervisor Phillip Elchitz. “Both they’ve been up late the evening earlier than or they’ve gotten up early, have some kids with them. Possibly they’re afraid of flying.”

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“It’s nice to supply slightly little bit of consolation, slightly little bit of remedy for his or her journey,” stated ambassadog coordinator Pauline Harmatny. “We had an amazing response from the general public, in addition to the employees right here on the airport so we determined to go forward and work with town.”

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The pups not solely go to passengers checking in to their flights however these about to board. In some circumstances, they’ve been the explanation kids board their flights.

“We had a younger lady final week, she was 4 years previous and she or he was crying beneath the seats within the passenger boarding space,” Harmatny stated her canine then proceeded to stroll as much as the kid. “She comforted her and her dad and mom had been so grateful they had been in a position to get her on the plane.”

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It initially began as a pilot challenge with Kelowna Caring Canines, a non-profit group that goals to construct a powerful bond between canines and people.

The ‘ambassadog’ program was full-time on the Kelowna Worldwide Airport earlier than the pandemic.  Presently, the four-legged buddies are solely on the airport a number of days per week. Nevertheless, with their reputation, 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.


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