Flying too stressful these days?
Of course it is.
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Would a visit with a cute therapy dog make layover a bit less unpleasant?
That’s what travel officials at Miami International Airport hope as it starts a new therapy dog program, the Miami Hound Machine, on Monday, Sept. 24.
The first five MIA Volunteer K-9 Ambassadors — Abbey, Belle, Dash, Donovan and Pico — and their owners will greet passengers and, presumably, make them feel better, inside Concourse D.
According to Miami-Dade Aviation spokesman Greg Chin, the therapy dogs will visit the airport “during peak travel periods at MIA to de-stress and comfort, where they will spread love and warmth to travelers.”
The dogs will work on shifts of about two hours at a time during peak travel times year round.
Says Chin: “Therapy dogs are a no-brainer for airport customer service. If a passenger is having a bad day or under stress, what’s better than a loving, happy dog to put you at ease? They’re known as man’s best friend for a reason.”
According to CNBC, several airports — including Denver, Los Angeles and Cincinnati — have adopted similar dog therapy programs for its travelers.
The Miami Hound Machine program relies on certified therapy dogs from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, an international registry of certified therapy dog teams.
MIA has had a couple recent trial runs with the four-legged K-9 volunteers, Chin said, and “they are a hit.”