Gentle Fur In Action
Take the stress out of flying with our therapy dogs.
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 various 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 and at no cost. Please contact us, 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.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Lilly has plenty of love to share for her fellow travelers! When she isn't rolling around in the snow, you can find her wishing passengers a safe flight.
Poohtine always enjoys visiting passengers. She also takes her job seriously when testing the accuracy of the airlines' luggage scales.
Hammy loves the airport and meeting new travelers. After saying hello to the passengers, you might see her enjoying a Starbucks Puppuccino.
There are two main things Callie loves: people and frisbee. These two things feed her friendliness and her need for speed.
Handlers: Kathy and Don
Rosie is always sniffing out travelers who need a little something extra to relax them before their flight.