Therapy Dogs Land at Dallas Fort Worth Airport
The holiday season is approaching, meaning air travel on the horizon for many. Trained therapy dogs at Dallas’s Dallas/Fort Worth Airport are hoping to help ease some of the stress of flying!
A new program launched on October 27 in Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport’s Terminal D–the Airport K9 Crew. Twelve experienced and certified therapy dogs of various breeds walked the “Orange Carpet” and strutted their stuff, wearing their official (orange, of course) ‘DFW K9 Crew’ harnesses. Their humans also wore the DFW K9 Crew uniforms and air travelers watched with delight as the dogs brought, well, a bit of humanity back to flying!
Ken Buchanan, Executive VP of Revenue Management for DFW, said that so many experience anxiety and have an uneasy time when they are flying. He’s hoping that interactions with the DFW K9 Crew will help passengers feel more at ease in the airport, and before their flights, and will help change the perception that flying will not be a positive experience. Because really…who can be anxious when getting all sorts of furry kisses?
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The dogs participating in the program all are current members of local and national pet therapy organizations, as are their handlers. They have a one-year commitment to volunteer at least two times per month, and their handlers are required to become DFW Airport Ambassador Volunteers. Handlers also have to attend orientation sessions and get regular evaluations, so there is no denying that these dogs do indeed bring therapeutic benefit, but passengers get the added benefit of having a friendly human help answer general questions about the airport and its services.
The dogs are able visit with passengers waiting for their flights, and each has a collectible trading card that has his name, age, weight and certifications on it. The airport is encouraging passengers to meet the dogs at the interaction areas in Terminal B, both before and after they go through Security, though the Crew will also be roaming the terminals looking to just spread some friendly canine cheer.
DFW plans to expand the DFW K9 Crew to over 60 dogs/handlers in all terminals by 2017 and would love passengers to share photos they take with the Crew on social media platforms, using the hashtag of #DogsofDFW. Passengers who do will earn ‘DFW Terminal Bucks’ or win airport branded items, but most importantly, passengers will get to enjoy the love and support that these dogs can give.
So if you happen to be in the DFW Terminal, let the fur fly some before you fly yourself! You’ll be glad you did!