This blog post was updated on March 22, 2019.

At the risk of stressing out all holiday travelers with yet another article on stress reduction, we’d be remiss if we didn’t inform you about the therapy dogs (a.k.a. the Comfort Canines, Bow Wow Bromides, etc.) at some airports around the country that are trained to help nervous fliers to relax.  

At airports near and far, there are dogs for sniffing out bombs, dogs that sniff out contraband, and even dogs that “sniff out” fliers’ stress and anxieties and then do their best to lick and wag them away.

Airport Therapy Dog Programs Hearken to Healing Traditions

Taking a lesson from the field of medicine, which has used dogs to help people heal since ancient Egyptian times, more than 30 airports in the United States now offer stress-relief programs with certified therapy dogs to travelers. This tranquilizing trend apparently began in earnest around 2013 and seems to have been growing ever since – due in part no doubt to its fetching nature!

Some airports have created whole teams of the sweetest, most irresistibly lovable dogs for their travelers’ comfort.

Do Therapy Dogs Do the Trick for Frazzled Fliers?

Judging by the buzz on social media, the therapy dogs have certainly been doing their doggone best to send travelers’ stress right into the dog house!  See them in action in some of the tweets and videos we found on social forums.

Here’s a Short Guide to Airports with the Puppy Luv!

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the Wag Brigade Wags Away Stress

San Francisco International takes the problem of travelers’ stress so seriously that it has formed a team of about 22 or so therapy dogs, and called them the “Wag Brigade.”   This brigade has been helping travelers to combat their tensions while they’re at SFO since 2013.  See how the dogs do it in this video.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Relaxes Harried Passengers with Their Pup Program

Pets Unstressing Passengers, or PUP for short, is the name of the team of 30 de-stress dogs at Los Angeles International Airport.   Travelers here can pet the therapy dogs for relief, and also get airport information from the dog handlers such as where to find departure gates. See the video for the “PAWsitive” experience that the PUP program, which is now in its third year, has created for many travelers at this very busy hub.


Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) Airport’s Canine Crew Could Claim Best in Show for Southern Hospitality

Since 2015, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has been dispensing some of its warm, down-home southern comfort to passengers with its CLT Canine Crew of seven therapy dogs and their handlers.  The CLT team gives up TLC to people at the airport when the team visits this hub 2-3 times per month on a volunteer basis.  Each dog wears a Pet Me vest and the handlers don CLT Canine Crew t-shirts. Making up the team are dogs like Ellie, a beautiful Greyhound; Kitty, a really cute Australian Cattle Dog; and glad-pawing greeter Max who is shown below.


Minneapolis St. Paul Airport’s (MSP) Animal Ambassador Program Diplomatically Whisks Away Stress

If you’ve had to snake your way through a particularly long TSA line at Minneapolis St. Paul Airport and are at your wit’s end, you can visit one of this airport’s petting stations where bright dogs like Mimi, shown here, will cheer your spirits.


Stress at Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) Happily Goes to the Dogs of the DFW K9 Crew

The DFW K9 Crew of 12 professionally trained therapy dogs started relieving passengers of their stress at Dallas Fort Worth Airport just this past October.  In addition to having a nice sit-down with one of these dogs, you can collect trading cards with their pics and bios, have your picture taken with them, and ask their handlers for directions around this large hub.


At Miami International Airport (MIA), Casey the Canine Ambassador Spreads the Love

Miami International Airport has only one therapy dog so far to serve the 40 million or so travelers that pass through it, but what a dog! Casey, a beautiful golden retriever, is the sunny canine ambassador that brings some love and smiles to travelers who may be taut with stress at MIA.  Casey and her owner/handler Liz Miller have received honors for their work helping the travelling public at MIA.  One look at this video and you’ll just fall in love with Casey.

Albany International (ALB) and Syracuse Hancock International (SYR) Airports are Also Grounding Stress

While airports in the NY Metro Region like John F. Kennedy International seem not to have implemented formal therapy dog programs just yet, some upstate New York airports have recently done so.  For example, at Albany International there’s a team of 20 or so Canine Ambassadors to diplomatically de-stress you.

If you’re flying to or from Syracuse Hancock International Airport with a suitcase full of stress, the PAWS of CNY therapy dogs will be more than happy to lighten your load.

Just take a look at how the PAWS dogs in the video keep the anxiety levels of passengers grounded by allowing them a few good ol’ down-to-earth belly rubs.

With such wonderful dogs, such marvelous lickologists as these at airports, people might start going there just for the puppy luv.

But before this post goes to the dogs too, we’d better wind it up now by saying that we hope it has given you a good idea of one way to relieve any stress you might have as you travel this holiday season. If we didn’t mention an airport that you’ll be travelling to, check to see if it has a therapy dog program.

[The feature picture for this post is provided courtesy of San Francisco International Airport.]

You never get stressed out at the airport.  Never.  But hey, how do you handle those pre-flight jitters anyway? Do you chill with therapy dogs, or do you use some other method?  We’d love to know.  

2 Responses


    Amazing! I did know that there are dogs doing this kind of things! It is a really good idea for people that are anxious about air travels! I just wish we had these wonderful dogs in the Athen Airport!

    • Joseph Decibus

      Greetings Giorgos,

      Thanks so much for your comment. We are wishing with you that Athens International Airport will soon have a therapy dog program for its travelers. Until that time though, you’ll have to visit us in the United States to get some of the puppy luv at our airports! See you soon?


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About The Author

Joseph Decibus writes for CheapOair and is also an avid traveler who occasionally writes about his trips. He looks forward to informing readers periodically about interesting places and events throughout the world.