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15 therapy dog teams join Welcome Team Program at Canada’s largest airport


Toronto Pearson International Airport and the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program are partnering to bring the friendly faces of 15 therapy dog teams to YYZ. As part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team Volunteer Program, SJA Therapy Dog teams will roam Terminals 1 and 3 to bring enjoyment and help alleviate the anxiety that some passengers experience while traveling.

“At Toronto Pearson, passengers are our passion, and critical to that mission is ensuring all passengers feel relaxed and comfortable while travelling through our airport,” said Scott Collier, Vice President, Customer and Terminal Services, Toronto Pearson. “We know that travelling can be stressful, and a friendly visit with a therapy dog can make all the difference in the world to anxious travelers. Seeing people smile when they meet and experience the unconditional love of a therapy dog in our terminals is both comforting and rewarding.”

Engaging with a therapy dog has been known to have a positive effect in helping to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. Along with their handlers wearing the distinctive blue Toronto Pearson Welcome Team vests or jackets, SJA therapy dogs Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie will roam Terminals 1 and 3 on a flexible, weekly rotation and can be easily spotted by their official red and white SJA Therapy Dog bandanas. Passengers are welcome to approach the dogs and pet them to help them relax while at the airport.

“We are proud to bring the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to Toronto Pearson as part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team,” said Larry Shack, St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Toronto Pearson Program Coordinator. “Our therapy dog teams are honored to continue our tradition of community service by bringing the benefits of therapy dogs to passengers at Toronto Pearson and helping them feel relaxed and comfortable while travelling through the airport.”

SJA therapy dogs and their handlers are the latest additions to Toronto Pearson’s Welcome Team, a group of over 300 volunteers who help travelers in our terminals every day. Recently celebrating its 5-year anniversary, Toronto Pearson’s Welcome Team together logs over 1,200 volunteer hours a week, helping innumerable passengers a year. By fostering a welcoming and relaxing environment, the Welcome Team contributed strongly towards Toronto Pearson’s 2017 Airport Service Quality recognition as the Best Large Airport in North America over 40 million passengers.

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Chief Assignment editor is OlegSziakov