Airport pups help nervous fliers relax

WASHINGTON – Passengers often arrive at airports stressed, grumpy and jet-lagged.

Now, dogs are being sent in to lighten up the mood.

Los Angeles International Airport has launched a program called Pets Unstressing Passengers.

Thirty volunteer dogs work the terminals seven days a week. At least two other airports also deploy man’s best friend, but the new program at LAX is by far the largest.

“We bring these pups to the boarding gates to help alleviate passengers’ stress level and bring down their blood pressure,” says Katherine Alvarado, a spokesperson with LAX.

“We know that there are a lot of travelers out there who are nervous fliers or are just stressed with the whole flying experience,” she says.

The dog and handler teams went through classroom and in-terminal training to prepare for their mission at the airport.

They’re also prepared for passengers who prefer not to make a new furry friend.

“The handler will either ask the passengers if they are allergic or if they don’t want the pup to go near them,” says Alvarado.

The handlers even carry a kind of baseball card for the dogs, which feature information about them.

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