Phoenix Sky Harbor to soothe stressed travelers with therapy dogs

Travelers frazzled by long lines and delays, anxious about flying or simply missing their mutt have a new ally at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: therapy dogs.

Beginning Monday, trained therapy dogs will roam Terminal 4 with their owners under a pilot program modeled after popular pet therapy programs at dozens of airports across the country and in Canada.

The Navigator Buddies program, staffed by volunteers and their certified therapy dogs, is an offshoot of Sky Harbor’s 17-year-old Navigator volunteer program.
Instead of purple jackets, the Navigator Buddies will wear purple vests. The vests will say “pet me” so travelers, airport workers and visitors know they can approach them, unlike police or TSA dogs.

Misty Cisneros-Contreras, Sky Harbor’s customer service manager, said the airport hopes the animals make passengers’ trips through the airport a little less taxing. The airport is already dog friendly, with pet parks and pet relief areas.
“We’re really just hoping to create a positive travel experience for our travelers,” she said.  “We understand the airport is a unique place that sometimes does provide a stressful situation.”

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