We realize not everyone likes dogs. If that’s you, you might want to skip this – or keep reading, since to be forewarned is to be forearmed, and here’s the warning: More and more dogs are invading the nation’s airports. The thing is, these dogs are here to help.
They are airport stress relievers. And they don’t cost you a penny.
The De-Stressing Effect
The folks behind the year-old therapy dog program at Los Angeles International called PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) say the job of dogs like Finn – an immense and shaggy Irish wolfhound – is to “help reduce the anxiety of traveling.” That’s what a 69-pound Golden Retriever named Casey does in Miami and others offer similar wags and slobbery comfort in scattered around the country.
Many of these happy canines wear snappy little coats (or, like Finn, large coats) that say, “Pet Me” and passengers oblige. So do others. NPR quotes a Delta pilot who looked longingly at an Australian labradoodle mix at LAX and said, “I’m thinking that Barney should go with us.” Our understanding of FAA rules, however, is that canines in cockpits = no-no.
Where to Find Airport Dogs
Some of these programs are new or now being proposed while others may be seasonal. Our advice: Keep your eyes out at these airports for friendly dogs who may make your day a little less frazzled.
Clearly there is a demand for dogs. A Boston news reporter cited therapy pups as one of the “amenities that would make Logan Airport so much cooler.”
But again, not everyone likes dogs. However, we know of no airports with therapy cats. Yet.