Would These Airport Therapy Dogs Help You De-Stress?

When it comes to traveling, flying is often the best way to get somewhere fun. In this case, the journey is not usually as enjoyable as the destination! Between the planning, the crowds, and of course, the flying, many airplane passengers get anxious, especially as they wait to board their flights.

That’s why some airports across the country have begun to recruit some canine volunteers in order to take the edge off! As a matter of fact, it’s scientifically proven that love from a pooch can help lower heartbeat, decrease blood pressure, increase oxytocin, and more. Check out some of the airports that have “employed” some very special, for-legged staff members!

It’s widely known that the days surrounding Thanksgiving–particularly, the day before–are some of the busiest travel days of the year. That’s why, last November, The Chicago Department of Aviation teamed up with Canine Therapy Corps to bring frazzled passengers at Midway Airport and O’Hare Airport some stress relief today and tomorrow.

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A total of 5 dogs, each a different breed, will be walking around the airports with their handlers to offer pets and licks to particularly tense travelers. The pups are “going to be roaming around each of the terminals and looking for gates with delayed flights, to try and find the people who are experiencing the most stress,” Ann Davidson, the therapy group’s operations manager, told DNAinfo.

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“Just interacting with dogs has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress and depression,” she added in the story. “And hopefully they can give some mental stimulation to people who are bored and waiting.”

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Some airports even have permanent pup staff members. Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina has the CLT Canine Crew to calm the worries of weary travelers.

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Another airport that recently hopped onboard this trend is the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. According to Nola.com, the Visiting Pet Program arrived at the airport on June 26th, 2018, and consists of 10 canine volunteers and their handlers.

The article shares one heartwarming story of a traveler whose Golden Retriever had recently passed away, and meeting one of the golden-furred pet volunteers before boarding his flight “warmed his heart.”

Lee Gaffney, the director of the Visiting Pet Program, said in the story:

“Our mission is to share the unconditional love of the animals for people who can’t have their own pets. People also miss their animals when they are traveling.”

The volunteer group not only visits the airport, they go to other facilities in the area, like nursing homes and hospitals.

Flying can be stressful any time of year; we think more airports should try programs like this! What do you think – would petting a pooch ease your anxiety before boarding a flight?

(h/t: DNAinfo /Nola.com)


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