Therapy dogs provide comfort to holiday travelers at Memphis airport

Therapy dogs provide comfort to holiday travelers at Memphis airport
Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel. (Source: WMC)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - No question about it, Thanksgiving travel can be stressful, especially when flying.

On Tuesday, a team of four-legged furry friends showed up at Memphis International Airport to help relieve some of that stress.

It wasn't long before passengers, airport staff and other visitors cozied up to man's best friend.

Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel.
Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel. (Source: WMC)

“This helps ease some of that stress and gives passengers a positive experience out here at the airport," said Glen Thomas, the public information officer for Memphis International Airport.

Jo Anne Fusco is with West TN Therapy Dogs, one of the groups who brought the canine companions to the airport.

The Memphis Area Gold Retriever Rescue (MAGRR) also brought dogs to the airport.

Fusco said the idea is to help people who find themselves in a stressful environment calm down.

Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel.
Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel. (Source: WMC)

"We're here because it's so crowded during the holidays and we like to make sure people aren't nervous about traveling," said Fusco. "We make people happy. We're almost like a magnet. People are attracted to us."

This is the sixth year that the therapy dogs have come to the airport.

"They're able to go behind security, go to the gates and interact with passengers and make the travel experience a little more pleasant," said Thomas.

Becca Burnett and Sam Hudson said when they dropped their friend off at the airport Tuesday morning, they learned her flight was canceled.

Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel.
Memphis International Airport welcomed therapy dogs to help travelers cope with the stress of holiday travel. (Source: WMC)

"We were all kind of in a panic for a few minutes and we walked in and saw a Great Dane and it literally just made our day so much better," said Hudson. "I suffer from anxiety, so it was just a great unexpected thing."

Thomas said the therapy dogs visit the airport during busy periods throughout the year.

Fusco said in addition to the airport, the therapy dogs also visit St. Jude, West Cancer Center and Thrive Memphis.

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