Up to the task of easing travel anxieties and comforting passengers, Dayton International Airport's new resident therapy dog, Kida, has taken on this mission.
The 16-month-old chocolate goldendoodle--a certified therapy dog--stepped into the new role this month, making her debut on Passenger Appreciation Day on February 12.
"We realize that traveling, especially in planes or with children, can be very stressful for people," said Molly Arneson, Kida's handler. "Just meeting and petting a dog can reduce that stress and bring a smile."
Kida is the airport's first and only therapy dog. Kida and Arneson will be making regular, weekly trips to the airport for up to two hours at a time to provide comfort to travelers and their families.
Arneson and Kida were certified and registered as a pet therapy team in October 2015 through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
Kida was raised as a future service dog for the non-profit 4 Paws for Ability in Xenia. The organization realized her temperament was perfect for the role and decided she might also be a breeder, in hopes that her future puppies would also make great service dogs. She has lived with Arneson and her family since the age of 14 weeks.
Dayton International isn't the first airport in the country to employ a therapy dog as a benefit to passengers. Airports in San Jose, Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles, among others, also have used therapy dogs, with great results.