Which U.S. Airports Have Therapy Dogs?
If air travel makes you nervous, you might be wondering which U.S. airports have therapy dogs on hand to make the experience easier. These special animals, trained to help calm and soothe people experiencing stress and anxiety, can be found in airports across the United States.
The trend of bringing in certified therapy dogs into spaces like airports has been on the rise in recent years. Given the added stress and uncertainty that comes with flying on a plane during a pandemic, there's never been a better time to exchange your pre-flight drink with a cuddle from a four-legged friend instead.
A Brief History of Airport Therapy Dogs
Following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, therapy dogs were brought into airports as a means of easing anxiety and fear around flying. The reach and popularity of airport therapy dogs has been on the rise ever since. Given their massive success, the programs were expanded to even more airports across the country.
Unlike trained service animals, certified therapy dogs are meant to be pet and hugged by people. Security dogs at the airport are there to do a very different job, which is why their harnesses and vests usually read something along the lines of "do not pet." These are serious instructions; do not attempt to engage with a working service animal while it is on duty.
Therapy dogs are there to take your mind off the hustle and bustle of check-in, moving through long lines and big crowds, and any other anxieties surrounding the air travel experience. Therapy dogs are volunteers; along with their owners, they donate their time and energy to visit with passengers across the airport.
What's more, therapy dog programs and even individual animals often have their own social media accounts as a way of engaging with and attracting new friends.
Where Can You Meet Airport Therapy Dogs in the U.S.?
According to Vane Airport Media Inc., Airport Therapy Dogs, there are currently 37 U.S. airports that offer therapy dogs as a service to passengers.
You can see the complete list of airports below, but we'll highlight a few of the largest:
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
- Denver International (DEN)
- George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)
- Jacksonville International (JAX)
- Los Angeles International (LAX)
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans (MSY)
- Orlando International (MCO)
You can stay up to date with all of the delightful doggie antics through the Airport Therapy Dogs Twitter account.