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A Great Idea: Airport Therapy from a Lovable Dog

Airports aren't filled solely with travelers who are harried or excited or just doing business as usual. Look a little under the layers of an...

Maria Goodavage  |  Sep 16th 2011


Airports aren’t filled solely with travelers who are harried or excited or just doing business as usual. Look a little under the layers of an airport scene, and you’ll find a woman going to the funeral of her beloved mother. Or a man moving away after a painful divorce. Or — for the sake of this blog — someone whose dog just died.

It’s all there if you just look around. That’s exactly what Kyra Hubis, a volunteer chaplain at San Jose International Airport in California, would do at the airport during her rounds. And sometimes she found people to help.

But it wasn’t until she started bringing in Henry James, her golden retriever therapy dog, that she became a magnet to those in need.

“I’ve walked the terminal without him and people don’t come up to me, but if I walk the terminal with him he’s an ice breaker,” Hubis said in a KSBY News story.

Henry James offers a soft and furry shoulder to cry on, and nonjudgmental ears to hear troubles of others.He’s there for everyone, from the grieving to the simply nervous.

Hubis said a couple recently approached Henry James, and the wife, “knelt down on the floor, buried her head in his fur, and for a good two or three minutes was sobbing and telling him her father was dying in town here and that she and her husband were having to leave and she didn’t know if she was ever going to see him again.”

I think airports should trade in all their TSA scanners for therapy dogs, don’t you? The terminals would be more relaxed and happy places to be.

Thank you, Kyra and Henry, for being such devoted practitioners of your highly caring craft.

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