From those awfully long waiting-hours for a connecting flight to the pain of bidding goodbye to a loved one, airports can be pretty overwhelming. After all not everyone is there catching a holiday flight.
In a first for India, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) has introduced a unique therapeutic service for frazzled travelers. The novel endeavor by CSIA, known as ‘Comforting Angels’, employs therapy dogs to soothe, comfort and de-stress passengers inside the departure terminal.
The endearing Golden Retrievers – Pepe, Goldie and Sunshine approach passengers, to be petted and cuddled, transforming their waiting period at the airport into a calming, stress-busting session.
Post the 9/11 attacks, US has seen therapy dogs comfort special children and traumatized adults at the airport terminals. Furthermore therapy dogs have also assisted as ‘courtroom dogs’ who help child crime victims tell their stories.
Scientific evidence proves that petting dogs is an effective means of relieving anxiety, hypertension, loneliness and stress. Passengers bound for extensive travelling experience several or all of these symptoms, sometimes coupled with exhaustion, insomnia or jet lag.
The therapy dogs at the Mumbai airport are trained by the Animal Angels Therapy Centre in Pune. They soothe, comfort and de-stress passengers who may be having any anxieties wrt long distance travel. According to the therapists, a lively interaction with a pet can help release happiness hormone, oxytocin, in your brain and get you to ease up before a long flight.
These therapy dogs are gentle in temperament, and not easily startled or perturbed by the many noises at the airport – suitcases falling, kids screaming, trolleys and wheels or loud passengers.
Near the departure terminal of Mumbai International Airport Limited (T2) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Time: 5.30 pm – 8.30 pm at the domestic departures, and between 9 pm – 11.30 pm, at the international departures.
So the next time you happen to be at the Mumbai airport, do remember to cuddle these pooches as you say goodbye to your travel blues!