GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.,–If you have travel plans anytime soon and are flying out of Gerald R. Ford’s International Airport you might be surprised to find a new four-legged friend roaming around.
The airport has enlisted the help of therapy dogs, only a handful of other airports across the nation use them. The program just started this month and is still in the beginning stages. The airport partnered with West Michigan Therapy Dogs Inc. and while right now they only visit about once a week they hope to expand the program over time.
We tagged along with one of the teams Thursday, Gunner and Amy Meinecke. “The other day when I was here there was a lady who was super anxious, she did not want to get on the plane and we visited with her and she’s like I’m so much calmer now,” said Meinecke.
Meinecke says Gunner is there to help ease anxiety and stress during the busy hustle or even to help act as a distraction when there are delays, a small source of comfort for children and adults. “It’s always about what he could do for others. I always say I’m just the glorified chauffeur for him. I volunteer to share him with others.”
Gunner like all the dogs at ‘West Michigan Therapy Dogs Inc.’ goes through training, if you would like to find out more : http://www.wmtd.org/