Paw Therapy for Frazzled Holiday Travelers

Pet Therapy  in the form of dogs to pat to relieve travel stress as part of the United Paws program
Pet Therapy in the form of dogs to pat to relieve travel stress as part of the United Paws program

For millions of Americans preparing to travel this holiday season, the preparation checklist might be a little daunting: Book last-minute travel. Get last-minute gifts. Pack the bags. Pack the kids.

Now passengers at Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington/Dulles airports will be getting a little stress relief in the form of the United Paws program — therapy dogs at their locations for passengers to pet and hopefully reduce their travel stress anxiety.

“United Paws is a wonderful program that comes at just the right time for some holiday travelers who may be experiencing a bit of anxiety or stress,” says Veterinary Consultant Dr. Walter Woolf. “Research shows that just petting a dog releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and affection, and also decreases levels of stress, helps us breathe easier and lowers our blood pressure. I’ve experienced this recently and think this is a wonderful idea for holiday travelers.”

“In ways large and small, all of us at United want to bring a bit of comfort and joy to our customers during this busy season of travel,” said Tom O’Toole, United’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We introduced comfort dogs during the holiday season last year, and they were very popular with our customers, so we’re bringing them back at more airports this year.”

dogs to pat in airports to relieve stress -- a great idea

Sadly, the United Paws pooches will only be available until December 23. I think it would be a great idea if the program could be extended year-round — and to more airports too.




tip of the day

Courtesy: The Kong Company
Courtesy: The Kong Company

Distraction toys such as a Kong can provide additional hours of fun if you stuff it with Ultramix sweet potato or pumpkin puree and freeze the toy until the puree is solid. Be sure to give the stuffed Kong to your dog outside or somewhere where you won’t mind cleaning up the mess – if he doesn’t lick up everything for you! Peanut butter is another great option. Courtesy Kong