Bright Spot: Therapy dogs help ease stress of traveling

Therapy dogs help ease stress of traveling
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 5:33 PM EDT
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Asheville, NC (WFSB) - One airport is easing the anxiety of flying with the help of some four-legged friends.

It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year. Since June 1st, the TSA has screened an average of more than two million people each day.

“You’ve got a lot of travelers who are trying to accomplish a lot of different things. Standing in lines. Getting checked in. Going through security screening,” says Tina Kinsey from Asheville Regional Airport.

But dogs are helping to ease some travel woes. 15 ‘ambassadogs’ roam the halls with their trainers at that airport. And they only have on job: to provide a little love. “You can see some of that stress, physically see it melts away.”

Even at our lowest times, animals can provide joy and companionship. Susan Albers, Clinical Psychologist from Cleveland Clinic agrees. “I’ve been a long-time believer in the connection between mental health and pets.”

Albers says they can reduce stress, even help with depression and anxiety. “When we interact with pets, there is a decrease in the cortisol level. Cortisol is the stress hormone that pumps through our body when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.”

This North Carolina airport celebrates the birth of its program every year. Along with holidays, it holds a kissing booth on Valentine’s Day called ‘Smooches from Pooches,” and those involved, like Tina Kinsey say they plan to expand the program. “When you witness that with your own eyes you realize this is a great service for travelers.”