Airport comfort dogs to help ease holiday travel stress

The "United Paws" program in action (KXAN Photo)
The "United Paws" program in action (KXAN Photo)

CHANTILLY, Virginia (AP) — A team of professionally trained comfort dogs at Dulles International Airport are helping ease travelers’ stresses this holiday season.

The dogs are part of the United Airlines United Paws Program. For the first half of Christmas week, the airline has invited the comfort animals to seven of its hub airports nationwide. The dogs’ purpose is to reduce stress and anxiety for holiday travelers.

The dogs walk the terminal during a morning and afternoon shift and will continue through Wednesday.

On Monday, the four-legged messengers of calm participating in the event included Rugi, a Great Dane-Labrador mix; Cinnamon, an English bulldog; and Pepper, a rescue blend of retriever, among others.

United spokesman Jonathan Guerin says science proves that simply petting a dog can reduce stress. Plus, they always bring smiles.

The United Paws program runs December 21 through December 23 at Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington/Dulles airports, CNN reports. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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