Ruff Landing? Airport Therapy Dogs Relieve Stress

Airports cause stress due to late passengers, long lines, delayed flights, security checks and many other reasons. A number of them are coping with acute passenger anxiety by introducing airport therapy dogs into terminals to comfort distressed travelers. The technique has proven so effective that more and more airports are adopting the strategy.


The first airport to use airport therapy dogs was Mineta San Jose International Airport. After the 9/11 tragedy, passengers were more apprehensive about traveling by plane, and a volunteer chaplain brought her therapy dog to calm and comfort passengers. After watching videos of passengers’ reactions to the dog, officials at airports in Miami, Los Angeles and other cities initiated programs of their own. For instance, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina began its airport therapy dog program in March 2015, and it quickly grew to a stress-busting force of 15 handlers and their dogs servicing terminals every day from morning to afternoon.


Airport therapy dogs come in all colors, sizes and breeds, from tiny miniature schnauzers to massive great Danes. Pets must have therapy certification, and handlers must go through security clearance. The dogs generally wear signs that say “Pet me” and stand unobtrusively in the open so that travelers who need comfort can interact with them and travelers fearful of dogs can avoid them. Often, pausing to greet therapy dogs breaks the ice between passengers, and they begin to tell stories and show each other pictures of their own pets. Sometimes when flights are delayed or cancelled, airports deploy therapy dog teams to the area to reassure frustrated passengers.Please re-write this so it is relevant.

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