Who says dogs don’t have superpowers?

Meet Ranji, a valued member of the Gold Coast Airport team. Ranji is a therapy dog who helps alleviate the stress often associated with travelling. We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Ranji’s mum, Jannet, at our clinic where she revealed the secrets behind his exceptional abilities.

How did Ranji initially get the job at the airport?

I have a son who had decided that he wanted to get a French bulldog - Ranji. I saw the effect that Ranji had on my son with his recovery from his accident and I knew that he had something special.

I was working at the airport and a memo came out saying that they were trialling therapy dogs, so I went down to the office and said to them, ‘Well I’ve got the dog for you’. They already had one they were trialling just to see how it went, so they took my name and I forgot all about it.

In June, they phoned me explaining the project’s been a huge success and now they’re looking for another therapy dog, are you interested? We went down and he just walked around the terminal to make sure he wasn’t scared and he walked in there like he OWNED the place.

We went and did therapy dog training, which involved shopping centres. He passed with flying colours and he must be retested every twelve months.

He’s not looking to retire soon?

No, he never likes leaving the airport. He loves his job.

Tell us about his superpowers?

Connecting with people, making people happy. He loves dogs but people are who he’s drawn to - he loves children. He adjusts his behaviour to who he’s dealing with. He’s very gentle, he sniffs people’s eyes. People love him, the response is amazing.

It sounds like he has another dog he works with?

Gary is a golden retriever cross who works Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Fridays. Ranji works Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

Can you think of a really nice story, a feel-good moment, something that he has been involved in that made you proud?

Three girls who have autism were experiencing acute anxiety at the airport and their mother sought me out specifically and he went running out like a superhero – he wears a cape! He calmed the girls down and within five minutes he had them more secure and settled. They were three sisters who missed their flight, he ended up lying down with them. The fourteen-year-old, she was scratching his tummy, then he was nose to nose with the nine year old, they were staring at each other for a long time. The girls’ parents were so happy.

What does Ranji like to do in his spare time?

Ranji loves to wear costumes! He wore a vampire cape for Halloween. At home he likes ‘zoomies’ and following me around and pulling on my jeans. He is lively and fun at home but when he dresses in his work uniform, he takes his job very seriously. He is ready to serve. He turned 3 years old on Christmas Day. He is also a fighter, just ask Dr Briana what he’s been through medically. She will agree he has an amazing gallant spirit.