We’re used to seeing security dogs at airports, but those dogs are working— no petting allowed. The “Pet Me” dogs are a different story altogether, reflecting a growing understanding that helping passengers distress, especially during busy holiday flying seasons, has value. These dogs are all about being touched!
Traffic on the way to the airport makes you late. Rushing, fearing you’ll miss your flight, you anxiously stand in endless check-in and security lines, annoyed at the delay. Your stress level increases with every passing minute. Finally clearing security, sitting to put your shoes back on, you notice something unusual across the room: an enormous harlequin Great Dane wearing a vest that says, “Pet me!” A smile breaks across your face and your blood pressure immediately drops. You say a quick hello to the dog and rub his soft ears, and the tension of the past hours melts away.
So far, some 30 airports across the country have therapy dogs on duty, and luckily for travelers, the number is steadily growing. The idea started at California’s Mineta San Jose International Airport shortly after 9/11 as a way to ease traveler jitters. Videos of those dogs at work convinced other airports give it a go.
…………therapy teams are also called upon to calm passengers when things don’t go as planned.
“One day, a flight was cancelled and a flight attendant asked if one of the dogs could visit with the passengers. The passengers loved it, saying, ‘Who cares that we’re delayed! It was worth it to see the dogs.’
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