Salt Lake City airport brings in furry friends to help soothe flying fears

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The dogs can be identified with red tags that read, "Pet me."

“The airport started a new program where they’re having us bring our therapy dogs just to raise the spirits of people here,” said Paulette Bennett of Therapy Animals of Utah.

Flying can be stressful. But to make things a little easier, volunteers guide their pet partner through the airport.

Barbara Gann, who is a spokeswoman with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, said the program has been a hit.

“It’s been amazing to me to see the reception that people have been giving these pets, and their owners, it’s been really interesting," she said.

Each pet is a registered therapy dog and is trained to work well in large groups.

“And the dogs love being petted and to see the people’s faces when we walk through. We can’t walk very far before someone stops us to pet the dogs,” said Dee Voeller, who is with Therapy Animals of Utah.

Dogs will be roaming the SLC airport two to three times a week, finding friendly company in the terminals.

Airports across the nation have brought in therapy dogs. Salt Lake City plans to have this program for years to come.

“Everybody universally has been really responsive and very appreciative of the time to meet and greet a dog, it’s great,” Gann said.


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