Stressed travelers at John Wayne Airport can now find solace in the presence of therapy dogs after the launch of its AirPAWS program on Wednesday.
The program — a collaboration between the county, airport and OC Animal Allies — deploys dogs throughout John Wayne in an effort to diminish the stress of anxious fliers.
“It is a great honor to implement the AirPAWS program, bringing joy and comfort to the travelers passing through John Wayne Airport,” Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner said in a news release. “More importantly, we are giving new life to animals in need with the positive attention they certainly deserve.”
The “animal ambassadors” will be provided by OC Animal Allies, a nonprofit animal welfare organization founded in 1984 that works with rescue animals.
The nonprofit certifies therapy dogs to aid special needs children and seniors.
The group also partners with the Orange County district attorney’s office to help comfort child victims of sexual assault, among other programs.
Research suggests that interaction with dogs can reduce the stress hormone cortisol. About 60 airports in the country have similar programs to AirPAWS.