Therapy dogs help ease holiday stress at NY airport

(WIVB Photo)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, some people, especially travelers, can be stressed. The Buffalo Niagara Airport is hoping some furry friends can relieve that.

“It just helps take the edge off as people are standing here and a little stressed after having traveled all day,” said Kathy Galus, the owner and handler for Lily, a two-year-old therapy dog.

The two are one of the pairs at the airport arrival gate near the luggage pick up area at the airport. They’re part of a SPCA group called Paws For Love. Their goal is simple – spreading cheer, love and starting stress-free holiday celebrations the moment travelers arrive.

It’s working for some people like Julia Helfman.

“It looked very fun to play with and to get my mind distracted,” said Helfman.

Helfman needed that distraction after spending hours in the airport before finding out her flight to Florida was canceled.

“I was very angry and upset,” said Helfman. “I started to cry because I just want to see my grandparents and it’s the holidays.”

Seeing Sophie standing there was a welcoming sight.

“It was like someone was there,” said Helfman. “Stress just going away every time I pet her because she was like kept on relaxing and I wish I was that relaxed.”

The dogs are always at the airport. During the holidays, they increase how frequently they’re there and bring more dogs in to welcome the travelers.

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