Houston Airports is celebrating the third anniversary year of its therapy dogs program at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) which launched in April 2016. To enhance the customer experience at the airport, the airport system partnered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs to help ease anxiety and stress some experience when traveling.
“For some of our passengers, flying can be an uneasy experience, and the therapy dog program has really helped ease that anxiousness,” said Customer Service Manager Ella Ghica. “The feedback has been great and even a fun experience for those that enjoy flying, because who doesn’t love a four-legged friend?”
Throughout the week, volunteer dog teams, readily identifiable by the handlers' bright orange polo shirts and the dogs' blue bandanas, make their way to the various terminals and gates around the airport, offering passengers an opportunity to pet and interact with the furry ambassadors. Unlike security dogs that passengers are not allowed to touch, the Houston Airports therapy dogs are all about being touched and petted.
Ghica added that the program receives compliments daily. She recalled a young child walking through the terminal to the gate area. The child was visibly upset, but when “she saw Brandi, that frown turned upside down and the parents were grateful Brandi was there to add some cheer.”