BELFAST, Northern Ireland, 2017-Mar-15 — /Travel PR News/ — George Best Belfast City Airport had some very special passengers this week, when a group of Guide Dogs in-training and their Puppy Walkers arrived for a visit.
The puppies were put through their paces to experience everything from checking-in to boarding the aircraft as part of their extensive training programme to become Guide Dogs, where they will be required to face many different settings with confidence.
Eleven puppies-in-training and their handlers, known as Puppy Walkers, visited the airport to help the dogs familiarise themselves with the process of air travel. Puppy Walkers are volunteers who offer foster homes to the puppies for the first year of their life, as well as basic training and socialisation for the puppies that aim to become Guide Dogs.
All 11 puppies were taken through every section of the airport that they would expect to encounter as a working dog, from check-in, through security and, finally, onto the Flybe aircraft itself.
Michelle Hatfield, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility at Belfast City Airport, said:
“It was fantastic to have the Guide Dog puppies at the airport for training, they really are extraordinary dogs. Their Puppy Walkers put so much hard work into their training and socialisation to ensure they experience as much as possible in their first year.
“Customer service and safety is an integral part of our operations, so the training was useful for our staff as well as the puppies. We want to wish the puppies and their walkers all the best as they continue training and we look forward to seeing them check-in for their flights with us when the time comes.”
Ursula McCanny, Engagement Officer at Guide Dogs NI, added:
“Guide Dogs NI supports the 18,000 people who are registered blind or partially sighted in Northern Ireland by helping them to live a more independent life. The training of these dogs is extensive, and introducing them to different public transportation hubs such as the airport is a vital part of their training.
“Flying has become a regular occurrence for people and, to assist their owners, our Guide Dogs must be comfortable and confident with the process. Sessions like the one with Belfast City Airport and Flybe are essential to helping instill confidence in our Guide Dogs. Thanks to the airport, staff and airline for all their support with the session.”
SOURCE: Belfast City Airport