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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views March 2019 Issue

At an Airport Terminal Near You — Dogs to Pet and Ease Your Travel Tension

The delays, the people in Zone 4 trying to get ahead of you during boarding, the sterile atmosphere, the fear of flying…there are all kinds of reasons not to like waiting for your flight to take off. But what if you could pet or cuddle with a friendly dog to take your mind off the tedium and anxiety? At more and more airports, you can. Around the U.S. and Canada, airports have been instituting programs whereby people come and walk their friendly, well-behaved dogs around the terminal to soothe travelers’ strung-out souls.

The Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program at Los Angeles Airport now has 100 dogs who get up close and personal with waiting, weary, bored, and anxious passengers. Denver Airport has a similar number of canine “distractions” as part of its Canine Airport Therapy Squad (with the ironic acronym CATS), as well as one super mellow feline.

The friendly dogs wearing “Pet me” vests in the Boarding Area Relaxation Corp (BARC) at the airport in Sacramento even have to pass a sniff test by not trying to get a bite of your snack. And the happy-making canine crew participating in Vancouver International Airport’s Less Airport Stress Initiative (LASI) shows the love like only dogs can to everyone from passengers to those working flights.

We like this approach. It’s usually a lot better for your own dog than taking him with you; most dogs are not fans of crowded airports, cramped planes, and disruptions to their routines.

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