Therapy dogs provide comfort to passengers at airport in Turkey (VIDEO)

Therapy dogs provide comfort to passengers at airport in Turkey
Passenger pets therapy dog, Istanbul Airport, Turkey, credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Therapy dogs have been offering comfort to stressed passengers at Istanbul Airport in Turkey for the past month. These animals provide passengers with an opportunity to reduce their anxiety before boarding their flights.

“Our priority is providing a stress-free and enjoyable airport experience to all passengers. Traveling can be stressful. For this reason, we approved this (therapy dog) project,” Abdulkadir Demirtas, a customer experience manager with Istanbul Airport operator IGA, said.

Passengers can interact with five therapy dogs as they roam the airport alongside their trainers.

“According to research, interaction between animals and humans reduces stress levels and anxiety. So, we approved this project,” Demirtas said.

Demirtas explained that the airport operators have been working on the therapy dog project for six months and hope to raise the number of dogs to ten.

“The dog needs to get along well with people. He or she needs to be calm, not be hyperactive and needs to remain unreactive to all sounds,” Murat Cengiz Koca, a dog behavioral expert who helped train the dogs, said.

“The dogs we have chosen here have gone through a year-long process and training. They are here today because they have been successful,” he added.

Anastasia Podmazova, a passenger, praised the initiative, noting the comforting presence of the dogs at the airport. “It is relaxing for me. I love animals. It’s very good,” she said as she kneeled to pet therapy dog Kuki.

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