By JENNIFER HUDAK
Miami International Airport unrolled a new plan to relieve stressed travelers. The new therapy dog program, the Miami Hound Machine, began service on Sept. 24.
Located in Concourse D, five trained therapy dogs — Abbey, Belle, Dash, Donovan and Pico — will be available to passengers. This new plan unfolds as the busiest travel time of the year approaches.
Airline officials hope this will impact travelers’ decisions to bring their own therapy pets onto flights during the holiday season. In recent years, many airports and airlines have seen an influx of travelers bringing emotional support animals on flights. After numerous complaints, companies like Delta, Southwest and United Airlines have followed through with an overhaul to their pet policy.
“Therapy dogs are a no-brainer for airport customer service. If a passenger is having a bad day or under stress, what’s better than a loving, happy dog to put you at ease? They’re known as man’s best friend for a reason,” Miami-Dade Aviation spokesman Greg Chin said in a statement to the Miami Herald.
The Miami Hound Machine program will be using dogs through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a separate program that works internationally to certify and train K-9’s to become therapy dogs.