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Airport Therapy Dogs Help Make Air Travel Somewhat Bearable

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It's hard to imagine a stressful situation that wouldn't be made at least a little bit better by the presence of man's best friend. In the hospital? There's a doggie for that. At the courthouse? Pups to the rescue! Finals got you down? Allow a pleasant little pooch make you forget all about differential equations.

Therapy dogs are experiencing a major surge in popularity as over-stressed Americans try to keep from completely cracking up. The airport dogs, part of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program, are now on duty to bring cheer to passengers at 20 major U.S. airports.

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Studies show animal-assisted therapy is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Frazzled passengers dealing with delays, missed flights, and gate changes are given the opportunity to do just that when they encounter the PUP patrol. One passenger quoted in the USA Today piece linked below referred to the dogs as a breath of fresh air in what is more often than not a very stuffy place.

The PUP dogs aren't just random mutts who get paraded through the terminal. Each dog, easily identifiable by their bright red vests, undergoes a thorough training regimen administered by the airport. While on duty, they provide comfort and joy to as many passengers as they can before they tire.

Next time you're at the airport, keep an eye out for the friendly uniformed pooches wearing the "pet me" vests. One thing to note: the dogs are almost always located past security, so you'll first have to go through the often-unfriendly uniformed TSA agents who are more likely to pet you.

Read more at USA TODAY

Photo credit: Fly_dragonfly / Shutterstock

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