Pet Therapy Pilot Program Launches at Fort McMurray International Airport

April 10, 2015

Fort McMurray, AB – April 10, 2015 On the evening of Thursday, April 9, 2015, travellers passing through Fort McMurray International Airport enjoyed the launch of a new pet therapy pilot program. Dog and handler teams from PAWs for People visited with passengers in the first floor arrivals hall. Visitors were invited to stroke and pet these gentle, friendly, specially-trained pet therapy dogs.

 “How can you be sad while you’re petting a dog?” commented one of the passengers who enjoyed playing with Chilli, Asia, and Summer, the three dogs who participated in the program launch. “I’m so happy to have pet therapy at the airport. This makes my day.”

 PAWS for People is an organization that brings pets and people together for comfort, interaction, stimulation, and joy in a safe and relaxing atmosphere. Established in 2002, they provide regular pet visitation services at a number of venues throughout Fort McMurray. All pets in the program have been screened and trained. The group receives funding from the United Way, and operates under the umbrella of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

 “We’re excited to partner with the airport to offer this pilot program to travellers,” says Koralee Samaroden, program coordinator of PAWs for People. “We were delighted to see how much passengers enjoyed interacting with the dogs on our first evening. We encourage people to come and visit with us when they need a little stress relief while they’re travelling, or if they’re missing their pets back at home.”

 Fort McMurray International Airport is the second airport in Alberta, and fourth in Canada, to offer pet therapy services to its passengers. Other Canadian airports with pet therapy programs include Edmonton International Airport, Regina International Airport, and Saskatoon International Airport.

 Pet therapy teams will be at the airport on selected Thursday evenings in April, May, and June. The pilot program may be extended into a permanent feature at the airport, depending on passenger feedback and participation. For further details and dates, please visit our website at:

 About Fort McMurray International Airport

Fort McMurray Airport Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that owns and operates Fort McMurray International Airport (YMM). Canada’s fifteenth busiest airport, YMM is the fastest growing airport in Canada with a passenger growth rate of 9.5% in 2014. YMM served over 1.3 million passengers in 2014.

 Media Contact

Joanne Barnes

Communications Coordinator

Fort McMurray Airport Authority