DID YOU KNOW
By Erin Hunsader
“Studies have shown that dogs can reduce stress and increase the levels of happiness hormones,” said Austin Straubel International Airport Director, Marty Piette, A.A.E
The Green Bay airport launched their PawsAero program right before the holidays to help ease anxious flyers by simply allowing people to pet a pooch.
Therapy dogs, accompanied by their pet parent, are identifiable by the gear they’re wearing which features the PawsAero logo –appropriately enough, a dog sitting alongside a suitcase. The therapy dogs themselves will also don bright, custom-made bandanas and their locations will be identified by signage throughout the airport.
Glory Reed is the handler for Baillie, the 115 pound Newfoundland that can be found roaming the terminals with a bib that reads “drool is cool.”
Reed began training therapy dogs as a retirement job, and, while she said Baillie was easy to train, it does take persistence.
“They (the dogs) have to be able to be around people and not be distracted by loud noises (like you might hear in an airport). Then teaching them to do the basics – to sit, to stay, to go down, to be able to stay with a person if I need to walk away. … When you train dogs you have to be constant with them. You can’t say, sit down and stay and think it’s going to work. Even now we reinforce and do training at home,” Reed said.
And, according to Piette, “travelers will be encouraged to pet the dogs.” In fact, the participants follow the ‘Pet Me Please Oath’ which states: We are here to help. We can calm fears and lick away tears. If we make you smile, we have done our job. So, pet me please.