Simple Solutions: Therapy Dogs at the Airport

According to the Bureau of Transportation, nearly two million passengers board flights in the U.S. every day! That adds up to a lot of frazzled flyers. See how one busy airport has joined a national trend helping dog-tired travelers feel better!

Welcome to Concourse D at Miami International Airport, where the "d" stands for dogs.

Debbie Snyder, co-creator of Miami Hound Machine, and her best friend Kelly rounds created the 'Miami Hound Machine' while working with therapy dogs like abbey, Debbie's six-year-old goldendoodle.

Snyder told Ivanhoe, "We immediately recognized that the airport's needs and its customers' needs completely aligned with the health benefits of the therapy dog."

Studies show simply petting a dog lowers a person's blood pressure.

"They lessen stress and anxiety, they decrease feelings of loneliness and boredom, they provide comfort," she said.

With 44.5 million passengers going through Miami international airport a year, officials jumped at the chance to enlist these volunteer K9 ambassadors.

"We're going to Honduras, it's a two-hour flight," Christa Hepburn said.

These pet-loving passengers enjoyed a little doggie distraction during their layover.

"They're very nice with people, like they understand them, and they always try to make them happy," Diego Hepburn said.

Others say the pups remind them of home.

"I want to go home now and cuddle with my puppies," Jose Cisneros told Ivanhoe.

Volunteer Bruce Lecure says his three-year-old Australian shepherd, Donovan, has a knack for making people feel calm.

Lecure said, "If I had a nickel for every time someone said look at those eyes, oh my god those eyes!"

"For five minutes, ten minutes, they're transported to a different time," Snyder said.

Making air travel a little less dreary and more cheery.

So far, 12 airports around the country have incorporated therapy dogs as part of their customer service. Debbie says all of the dogs need to be registered and certified therapy dogs to join her volunteer program. Most breeds are accepted as long as they enjoy being around people and are not afraid of loud sounds. She hopes to expand soon to make passengers smile during all peak travel times. For more information on the Miami Hound Machine go to www.miami-airport.com or call (305) 876-7081.
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