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Top dog Elmo is in full flight helping travellers at Adelaide Airport

Patrick James, April 10, 2022 3:00PM Kids News

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Assistance dog Elmo gets a pat from Coby, 11, and Mason, 9, on his first day of work at Adelaide Airport. Picture: Tom Huntley media_cameraAssistance dog Elmo gets a pat from Coby, 11, and Mason, 9, on his first day of work at Adelaide Airport. Picture: Tom Huntley


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New dog on the beat Elmo has put his best paw forward at Adelaide Airport in his role to help travellers with special needs.

Elmo and handler Justine Firth are on hand to make the airport experience less stressful for nervous flyers along with people with disabilities and health issues.

Elmo is trained by Guide Dogs SA/NT and had several weeks of special training under his belt before he began his new role at the airport last month.

“Elmo will be a calming influence on many people travelling through the airport, and we know he’ll be a fantastic addition to the team at Adelaide Airport,” said Guide Dogs SA/NT chief Aaron Chia.

“We know from experience how much of a calming effect our lovely labradors can have, and Elmo is already being welcomed wholeheartedly.”

Elmo Working Dog at Airport media_cameraElmo gets to work on his first day at Adelaide Airport with the help of handler Justine Firth. Picture: Tom Huntley

Elmo can be easily spotted by those needing assistance, and will wear a yellow Guide Dogs jacket every day.

Adelaide Airport managing director Brenton Cox said the airport welcomed the addition of Elmo.

“Elmo will be an invaluable* part of our airport family. Sometimes it might be that he sits next to an anxious* traveller,” he said.


  • seamless: smooth
  • invaluable: extremely useful
  • anxious: feeling worried and/or nervous


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  1. Which airport is Elmo working at?
  2. Who will Elmo help at the airport?
  3. Which organisation trained Elmo?
  4. What breed of dog is Elmo?
  5. What will Elmo wear while working at the airport?


1. Idioms
An idiom is a phrase or expression with a figurative, non-literal meaning. There are three idioms in this news story:

  • on the beat
  • best paw forward (adapted from best foot forward)
  • under his belt

Find these idioms in the text. Do you know what they mean? If you do, write a definition for them. If you do not, write down what you think they might mean based on clues in the text. Then research to find out if you are correct.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
Part of Elmo’s role at Adelaide Airport will be to help calm anxious travellers. Make a list of things that you find calming when you feel anxious.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education

Stretch your sentence
Find a “who” in this story – a person or an animal. Write it down.

Add three adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

Extra Reading in animals