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Therapy dog teams turn travel stress into smiles at Salt Lake City Int’l Airport

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 5

salt lake city — Traveling on vacation can be very stressful, especially when it’s mixed with delays and cancellations. I am giving you a reason to do it.

The hustle and bustle of vacation travel can devolve into chaos, with long waits at airports, flight delays, and picky kids locked at the gate.

So one day during the winter season, a group of three four-legged furballs roamed the terminals at Salt Lake City International Airport, trying to hand out love.

“Would you like to meet the dogs?” Cindy Jorgasson asked as she and two others approached a group of people waiting at the airport.

Jorgasson had a leash on the other side with Ardi, a 3.5-year-old Great Pyrenees dog. Susan Danes walked in with her golden retriever, Kingsley.

“Come on, hello!” she said as a young man approached and crouched down to pet the 2.5-year-old puppy.

The group toured to ease anxiety and turn stress into smiles.

“Oh, he’s adorable!” two women yelled as they approached 7-year-old Newfoundland Gus and his human, Steve Razkow. The women smiled at a large bear-like boy who wore socks to keep his feet from slipping on the floor and a bib that read, “No, I’m not a bear.”

“You like it, don’t you?” the woman said in a baby voice, scratching Gus’s back.

Some were afraid to approach, thinking Best meant the trio were service dogs.

“We are with Intermountain Therapy Animals,” she told the couple with the baby. “So we can wander all over the airport and share our puppy love.”

“Oh!” the woman replied.

“Great!” the man echoed.

ITA’s airport animal coordinator, Jorgasson, explained how the ITA team volunteers at the airport every week, including during vacations.

“For some people who are nervous about flying, just having a dog sit with them can lower their blood pressure and help them relax,” she said.

Jorgathon has been with ITA for 10 years and has been at the airport for about 9 years.

After experiencing animal therapy, she explained that this is how she can help others.

“I’m a cancer survivor, but the dog I had at the time didn’t leave my side,” Jorgasson said. “I wanted to pay upfront. So he became my first therapy dog.”

ITA teams like Yorgason and Ardi travel everywhere: hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, college midterms and finals weeks, and other special event locations. ITA operates the Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ) program. In this program, children can have their therapy dog ​​read to them to build confidence while improving their literacy and communication skills.

She and Luzkow said visiting the airport during such stressful times is especially rewarding.

“It’s really nice to see the relief on people’s faces when they see Gus, who are stressed, have had long flights, have long waits for planes, and aren’t happy,” said Luzkow. rice field. “It’s just instant, and it’s amazing.”

“Employees, flight attendants, pilots, it doesn’t matter who they are. They just love to see a dog and feel a little reassured,” Jorgasson said.

The group approached a group of people inside the terminal, including Daniel Pelmore. She had just flown in from Las Vegas.

“Hello baby!” she exclaimed as Gus approached her and she stroked his face.

Pelmore’s travel day was fairly easy, but seeing the dogs was still a joy for her.

“It’s like, I was so happy to see them,” she expressed. “Because I was like, ‘Oh my god!'”

An airport employee pushing a woman in a wheelchair approaches the group, causing both women’s faces to light up.

A woman in a wheelchair who was being treated for an ankle injury sat on the ground and petted her dog, laughing.

Airport employees recognized and crowed the chunky Newfoundland from other airport visits. They gave the good puppy all the good pets before continuing their journey.

“Thank you guys!” said the airport employee, giving Gus a final pat on the head. “Goodbye, Gas Gas!”

The Intermountain Therapy Animal Team hangs out inside the terminal and by the gate. When travelers see a dog in a red ITA vest and a human handler in a red ITA shirt together, they are encouraged to stop and say hello and feel the stress melt away.

Learn more about ITA here.

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