This Airport Has a Puppy Playground for Stressed-Out Travelers


No matter how cheap your flight is, flying can almost always be stressful. Between getting your ticket and going through security, a myriad of hassles can interrupt your flow in an airport. It's just a fact of life. In the last couple of years, airports around the country have adopted a solution so elegant and so obvious that it really just boils down to two words: add dogs.

Vancouver International Airport became the latest airport to roll out the amenity when it introduced an indoor dog park this month. Its dogs aren't just any dogs, but seven specially trained therapy dogs from St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program. In other words, these "Ambassador Dogs" represent the créme de la créme of canines. The Magnificent Seven of puppy potential. They are the best of the "good boys" (regardless of what their genders might actually be). And they're available, just chilling in their little dog park between the hours of 11am and 1pm from Monday through Friday, holding court and awaiting affection from anyone who isn't violently allergic to them. It is without question the finest air travel innovation since the introduction of peanuts.

The dogs, of course, are already super popular. Travelers mill about them, take photos and videos, and children snuggle up with them as their parents take a breather from schlepping across the terminal. Dog owners are encouraged to volunteer their own pooches for the program, too. At Vancouver International Airport, the therapy dogs are identified via bandanas and special leashes.

“It’s a great alternative option… having dogs in the terminal," Reg Krake, director of customer care for airport told the city's News 1130 station. "They’re PADS trained, so they can actually reduce (passengers') stress, relax, and actually have a smile or a laugh before they head on their journey.”

Vancouver isn't the only airport adopting the practice, either. Over 30 airports across the country -- in cities like Los Angeles, San Jose, Charlotte, and more -- have adopted versions of their own pet therapy program, so if you're traveling, you might find yourself hunkering down and showing one some love sooner than you think.

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Eric Vilas-Boas is a writer at Thrillist and runs the animation website The Dot and Line. Follow him on Twitter: @e_vb_