Therapy dogs ease holiday travel burden at DTW

Wayne County, Mich. (CBS Detroit) – Packing your luggage, heading through TSA, and making the trek to your gate can create travel woes. 

Earlier this year DTW began its ‘Therapy Dog Program’. With the program certified therapy dogs and their handlers can walk through the airport providing much-needed relief. 

In partnership with Fur Angels volunteers set aside a few hours each week. According to DTW, the dogs range in size from 10 lbs to 150 lbs.

Kevin a Toy Fox Terrier though light in weight is still able to slow people down from the hustle and bustle of the airport.

DTW’s Community Outreach Program Manager, Matt Virost added, “Certified therapy dogs is a good way to do that…it de-stresses passengers and especially first-time flyers.”

John Palladino a volunteer, and Kevin’s owner, noticed immediately the effect dogs have on passengers.

“Earbuds come out, cell phones get put in a pocket, iPads get turned over and for at least two minutes, you have someone’s sustained attention totally on a dog.”

The world we live in revolves around technology. With this program, volunteers tell Detroit Now News it helps increase travelers’ social skills. 

“They are engaged with not only the dog but with me, I get to see people at their best,” Palladino noted.

With countless oohs and aahs and belly rubs, travelers are a fan of Kevin.

“Because when people have anxiety animals tend to lower your blood pressure..lower your anxiety..so that’s nice,” traveler, Cheryl English said.

Though most of the job is easy, volunteer teams also need to be up to date on the latest in the airport.

 “A lot of times you get other questions besides can I pet your dog? Where is the bathroom? How can I get to rideshare..things like that,” Virost noted.

For those looking to learn more about how to volunteer CLICK HERE. 

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