Pre-flight pups help anxious fliers at Trudeau Airport

Click to play video: 'Emotional support dogs greet passengers at Montreal’s Trudeau airport'
Emotional support dogs greet passengers at Montreal’s Trudeau airport
WATCH: Emotional support dogs greet passengers at Montreal’s Trudeau airport – Nov 15, 2018

A new canine unit will be roaming Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport to help soothe the nerves of anxious travellers.

The group of 30 volunteers and their pooches are a part of the new YUL Pet Squad, a collaboration between the airport and the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec.

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Handlers and their dogs will meander through the international and domestic terminals in the airport distracting and entertaining passengers.

“I’m just so happy they are here,” passenger Bennette Dumont said.

The airport says it’s an initiative that many passengers have asked for in recent years.

WATCH: Dogs greet passengers at Montreal Airport

Click to play video: 'Emotional support dogs at Montreal airport'
Emotional support dogs at Montreal airport

“Its two hours of fun, good humour and it is really nice,” Pet squad member Diane Clark said while holding her Golden lab, Carson.

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“He goes around to person to person, most people start to laugh and smile the minute they see his antics.”

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After positive reactions during the pilot project in October, the initiative will now be a permanent fixture in the airport.

“We had the feeling it would be great because many airports have similar squads,” airport spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel said.

‘It makes me laugh’

Montreal is following Halifax, Edmonton and Vancouver’s airports, which all have similar programs.

As a handler, Clark said she has fun during the encounters.

“It makes me laugh and smile and makes me forget about everything around me,” Diane Clark said.

Susan Fischer and Crush, her Australian Shepard, enjoy meeting the public. She said the program is great excercise for Crush.

“He loves it,” Fischer said. “This is a working dog — he needs something to do.”

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For safety reasons, the passengers have to present themselves to the dogs. Hamel says the airport understands not all passengers likes dogs.

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Allergies and phobias are also something the airport takes seriously, she added.

“We really wanted to make sure it was a safe environment,” Hamel said.

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