Image via THV11/Facebook
The Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, now has Bow Wow Buddies—trained and certified therapy dogs—who walk through the airport for people to pet to help calm anxious travelers.
The volunteer dogs and their handlers walk throughout the airport, soliciting pets from passengers. So far, the response has been positive.
“I got a long way to go and it’s good to see a dog,” passenger Mary Jane Rebick, who was traveling to Spain, tells THV11. “I think it just kind of calms people right before they get on the plane.”
The idea to implement Bow Wow Buddies came about after seeing the success of the program at other airports. According to the outlet, spokesperson Shane Carter is optimistic about the value it will provide to the Clinton National Airport.
“Everyone just gets a big smile on their face and that really helps to start their journey on a positive note,” Carter tells THV11.
The program launched in July, and there are currently 20 teams (volunteer dogs and their trainers) working for the airport. Each team is scheduled for two hour shifts at least once a month, though some volunteer more often. They can volunteer at any time of the day.
There is no available public schedule for when the dogs will be present, but you can expect to see them for special events like Make a Wish or military deployments.
In order to become a therapy dog, pets and their owners must pass a skills and engagement test, and the pets must take a follow-up exam every two years. Handlers must also attend a course on animal management. In order to work at the airport, the team must attend an airport security orientation.
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