The Canine Stress Relievers At Sahar Airport
Pearl, Pepe, Goldie and Sunshine are comfort dogs at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at the Sahar terminal. They spread joy to passengers simply by doing what dogs do, look at you affectionately.
Psychologists say that there is clear, measurable effect on the psyche to petting dogs. Doing this releases the hormone oxytocin – the same feel-good juice that makes mothers love their kids. Many happy human reactions are attributed these days to the release of oxytocin and the happiness one feels from cuddling an appreciative mutt is one.
Dogs were used to comfort those who were impaired psychologically in the aftermath of 9/11. Ever since, US airports helped traumatised children and adults find comfort in dogs.
Now, the Mumbai Airport Authority uses Pepe and his pals, to de-stress passengers. An airport spokesperson said that people take to the dogs instantly and told us about one passenger who was quite agitated after having missed his flight. He saw the dogs and they said they could see the stress in him vanish. The dogs cheered him up while he waited for his next flight.
We saw the CEO of a media company heading straight in the direction of the bemused dogs after the security check. The golden retrievers, Pepe and Pearl, wagged their tails while he cuddled them. “Awwww, they’re so cute,” he said, stating the obvious.
We met Pearl and Pepe whose shiny coats and quiet demeanour were accompanied by the gentle wagging of their tails. Speaking to Explocity, their trainers said the dogs work a six-hour shift per day between the International and Domestic terminals. Though it was late evening, the dogs were cheerful and put an instant smile on our faces.
The dogs are trained and handled by the Animal Angel Therapy Centre in Pune.
Image and video credits: animalangels.org.in