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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Therapy Dogs Could Send Me to Therapy

The Edmonton International Airport has introduced "therapy dogs" as a means of calming passengers stressed out by air travel. This is framed as a good-news story and so far the comments are all overwhelmingly positive.

"My spirits are up for sure. It just brings me happiness," gushes one interviewee. "And my face is cleaner because she licked all the things off."


I understand that people who don't like dogs are viewed with the same sort of suspicion and unease as, say, supporters of ISIS. What sort of monster could possibly object to our furry friends, these adorable creatures who offer nothing but unconditional love?

We exist. And I really don't object to the program so much as I do to the blithe assumption that everyone is going to LOVE this idea. The newspaper story is completely unbalanced - there's not even a word about allergies, for example, never mind people who simply don't like dogs.

I don't expect to be pandered to, and generally speaking I agree that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. If therapy dogs will genuinely help 99 percent of travellers reduce their stress levels, then by all means therapy dogs should be welcomed at our airports.

But as a person who is both severely allergic to and scared of dogs, this program will make my travel more stressful. I don't like it, but I'll live with it. 

1 comment:

SusanRN92 said...

I see a benefit to you, although it is indirect. Consider a relaxing trip to Hawaii. The woman in line in front of you is extremely afraid of air travel. There could be two scenarios. One, she calms her fears by going to the bar, behaves badly on board and forces the plane to land in Salt Lake City. Two, she gets her face makeup licked off by a pooch, and behaves well on the trip. You sit next to her, start to get an allergic reaction, get a dose of Benadryl, an upgrade to first class and a free trip.