Imagine waiting at the airport after having missed your flight, had a flight delay or you’re experiencing your usual fear of flying. Then suddenly comes a tail-wagging pup, dressed with a brightly colored vest or bandanna with the words Pet me!. As the dog comes towards you or you towards it, a feeling of relief from your anxiety and stress will begin to surface. When your pet, hug and kiss the dog for a bit, the stress would be gone. That is the work of therapy dogs in airports and studies have revealed that such interactions are of exceptional health benefit to humans. For example, simply petting a dog is enough to lower someone’s blood pressure and relieve them of fear, stress, and anxiety.
When 9/11 happened, an airport pastor at San Jose airport in California brought in her dog to help calm stressed and frightened travelers. From that day, dogs became a source of calm for passengers who need it at airports. Today, the number of therapy dog teams and their handlers are increasing, and passengers are fascinated to see them.
Therapy dogs programs are fast becoming one of the ingredients of new airport services around the world and about 50 airports on board. The names given to this beautiful working friendly pups are not the same in many airports. The bottom line is the provision of trained on-site teams of therapy dogs to assist travelers who have anxieties to get relief by just being seen and interacted with. The best Airport therapy dogs must not be of a specific size, color, and breed. The fact is, they are all certified by the therapy-dog organizations of the country. For example, the therapy dog teams Charlotte and LAX are using have been certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
What Airport Therapy Dogs Do?
Therapy teams don’t go wandering around the airport and airport covered parking looking for people to interact with. No, they only get brought in to calm people in case there is a flight delay or passengers missed a flight and are becoming anxious and stressed. Also, if there is a known case of a passenger that has a fear of flying, then a therapy dog can be called upon. After playing with this cute little pup for about 15 minutes, the passenger will realize that they are no longer annoyed and stressed over the issue. Just imagine meeting a totally unfamiliar dog, and it suddenly becomes like your friend. That seldom happens with a random dog, and that’s the beauty in this cute therapy dogs. Well, not only those with flight phobia or anxiety get fascinated and relieved by these trained dogs, passengers generally adore them.
Fun Fact: In Denver, USA, there is the Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS), and it’s pretty funny because those airport therapy animals are not cats but dogs. It’s still an enchanting name though.
Not only dogs are in this service, pigs too are doing wonders in airport therapy teams. Have you heard of Lilou the pig yet? It is part of San Francisco’s wag brigade and very famous for doing what it does best.