Photos: Therapy Dogs Calm Stressed Holiday Travelers At LAX
Flying during the holidays is notoriously chaotic, so to help reduce the stress of the busy season, travelers at LAX get to visit with some adorable—and calming—dogs.
United Airlines is helping to calm frazzled travelers this week by bringing professionally trained comfort dogs to the busy airport, according to KPCC. United Paws—as the program is called—offers people the chance to spend time visiting with 13 therapy dogs from 9 a.m. to noon and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. through Dec 23. The dogs will be brought around Terminal 7 at the airport by handlers, so that stressed out flyers can pet, hold or just hang out with the pups.
"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," said Veterinary Consultant Dr. Walter Woolf in a statement from the airline. "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 the past, United has offered the United Paws program only at one or two airports around the country, but this will be the first time the four-legged friends will be brought to LAX, according to the L.A. Times. Travelers will also encounter therapy dogs if they travel through Cleveland, Denver, Newark, Washington, Houston and Chicago. The group of pups assigned to LAX are coming from the nonprofit group Actors & Others for Animals.
United is also encouraging passengers to share photos with the dogs on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #UnitedPaws. For each photo shared, United Airlines has pledged to donate $1 to the continuation of the United Paws program and you can be entered to win two roundtrip tickets with the airline.