YVR has launched the Less Airport Stress Initiative (LASI), an innovative program in which YVR Ambassador Dogs will be onsite throughout the terminals to provide all airport users with a new way to deal with anxiety associated with travel, work and general stress.
“We recognize that an airport can be a stressful environment,” said Reg Krake, director, customer care, Vancouver Airport Authority. “By introducing the YVR Ambassador Dogs through our LASI initiative, we hope that our four-legged friends will help to ease any anxiety associated with travel. We want all our guests to have a positive experience at YVR and we know the LASI initiative will enhance the airport experience for passengers, visitors and employees.”
YVR partnered with St. John Ambulance and its Therapy Dog program to provide seven dogs for the LASI initiative.
Ambassador Dogs Molly, Bailey, Mira, Norman, Grover, Kermode and Soda, spanning multiple breeds and sizes, will be onsite in the terminal Mondays through Fridays, from 11am to 1pm They will be accompanied by a dog handler and YVR Green Coat volunteer who will be ready to answer any questions. The dogs are easily identified by their YVR-branded leashes and St. John Ambulance bandanas.
There are many working dogs at YVR. The LASI program provides an opportunity to remind passengers about the differences between service dogs and YVR Ambassador Dogs.
Service dogs are extensively trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, while YVR’s Ambassador Dogs are meant for interaction.
In the interest of providing an environment where everyone, including these four-legged friends, is well-respected, Vancouver Airport Authority encourages the public to follow the key accessibility message: “Just ask, just listen.” It is always good practice to simply ask the dog handler if one may interact with the dog before doing so.
YVR has piloted the LASI initiative since December 2016 and has received strong feedback from the airport community on their positive interactions with YVR Ambassador Dogs.
Passengers and airport employees are encouraged to participate in YVR’s new LASI program by interacting with its Ambassador Dogs.