In a busy world thank goodness for the therapy dog. Many of those involved in Local Government could, I am sure, have benefitted from having a friendly dog at hand this week. This story tells us:

The passengers fresh off the afternoon flight from Southampton are scanning the information boards at Aberdeen international airport for the whereabouts of their baggage when their attention is drawn to something altogether less stressful, as members of the UK’s first ever team of airport therapy dogs bound into the arrivals hall.

A group of teenage girls, visiting Aberdeen for a diving competition, are the first to spot the Canine Crew and zoom over, chattering excitedly and crowding around the dogs, who respond with perfect calm, friendly wags and, in the case of Breagh the golden retriever, an inviting display of furry tummy.

“I think this is a really good idea,” nods Emma Bolton, 14, enthusiastically. “They would calm me down a lot.”

“You have happy thoughts when you see them,” explains her friend Felicity Cronin, also 14, “instead of dreading things about the airport. It gives you something else to think about.”

As Breagh, along with Grace the Scottish deerhound, Noodle the beagle and their owners, trot through the terminal sporting bright yellow bandanas that identify them as “therapets”, the effect on passengers and staff is instantaneous and exponential. There is plenty of research showing that dogs can improve mental health and wellbeing, alleviate stress and calm nerves and, while these dogs are being brought in from 4 May specifically to assist anxious travellers, it seems no one can walk by without pausing for a pat and a play.

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