FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – From packing a suitcase to navigating security checkpoints, traveling can be stressful. At Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), passengers will encounter a special team that aims to keep spirits high.
That team is called Hospitality PAWS, which is made up of six teams of handlers and their comfort dogs. The dogs are all different breeds but their mission is the same: to give passengers a calm and comforting travel experience.
“We have seen many passengers that are literally shaking because they’re so nervous about getting on a plane, and these guys have helped them,” said handler Anne Bohlman, who WANE 15 met at the airport along with Great Danes Clarabell and Dana. “Sometimes landing can be a little rough, or if when planes come from Chicago they don’t go up as high, if there’s a storm it’s rough-going, so they like to come and barrel hug the therapy dogs.”
Clarabell is 2 years-old and Dana is 5 years-old. Both pups wear bandanas encouraging people to show them some love.
“Petting them, talking to them lowers the blood pressure, making them refocus on something else. We get a lot of compliments on them, saying ‘ah it just felt good just to say hi to the puppies,'” said Bohlman.
The Hospitality PAWS program always gets a positive response from passengers.
“This is my first time ever seeing a therapy dog at an airport,” said passenger Jeremy Charles. “I think it helps calm the nerves a little bit, gets your mind off of your impending flight.”
“I think the benefits that a service dog can have on a person – emotional, all kinds of stuff – they definitely provide a sense of security,” said traveler Kristen Miller.
You can read more about the Hospitality PAWS program here.