Sometimes traveling can be “ruff,” and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is hoping to ease travel stress and anxiety with its therapy dog program known as GFIA: Gentle Fur in Action.
The airport launched the program in October 2013 with the help of our partner, West Michigan Therapy Dogs, Inc. The volunteer program places therapy dogs and their owner/trainer in airport areas such as the Grand Hall, Marketplace, baggage claim, concourses, and gates where passengers are arriving and departing. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are meant to be approached, and offer passengers the chance to rub a belly or shake a paw. The dogs are intended to take the stress and anxiety out of travel, to calm kids who may be impatient while waiting, or help ease the frustration of a delayed flight in poor weather situations.
GFIA has a number of therapy dog teams, and you can find the dogs roaming the airport halls with their handlers during various hours throughout the week. Do you have a fear of flying? Are you traveling with a child that needs something to keep him or her busy while you wait to board? Our therapy dogs are available by request at no cost. Please contact Tara Hernandez – firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to arrange for a dog to meet you before your next trip from GFIA. Due to scheduling, we cannot accommodate all therapy dog requests, but we will do our best!
Meet Our Dogs:
Check out all of the furry, four-legged members of our therapy dog team! We have no shortage of wiggly tails or wet noses.