THERAPY DOGS HELP STRESSED-OUT TRAVELERS AT THE AIRPORT - "[M]any passengers are in need of a dog’s wagging tail, wet nose and unconditional love.”
A Golden Retriever named Henry James is one of several therapy dogs who comfort travelers at the Mineta San Jose International Airport. The dogs who participate in the program are all trained and certified. The program is run by volunteers who rely on donations to fund the program. Here’s more from mercurynews.com:
The program began after 9/11, when an airport pastor brought in her own dog to help soothe stressed and frightened passengers. The effort has since grown to include 11 volunteers who walk their therapy dogs — including a German shepherd, miniature schnauzer and Bordeaux mastiff — up and down the terminals a few hours a week. The program runs on donations, which pay for the uniforms of the furry counselors: red vests covered in patches embroidered with slogans like “Pet me I’m friendly.”
"We know from a whole body of research that blood rate, heart rate and respiratory rate decrease when a person interacts with an animal," said Rebecca Johnson, researcher at the University of Missouri.
For people who like dogs and are not extremely allergic, these animals have a proven calming effect, said Johnson. Just as people soften with the smile of a stranger, dogs can lighten a heavy mood. “These dogs are going to be perpetually smiling and engaging people and making eye contact. That’s a positive force,” said Johnson.
There were definitely times when I would have been very happy to meet a therapy dog when traveling. Sounds like a great program. Click here for the full story.