Therapy dogs comfort stressed passengers waiting for flights at Lehigh Valley airport

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Man's best friend is providing comfort to fliers at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. Therapy dogs can be seen roaming the airport's main terminal to visit with travelers who may be having stress ahead of take off.

"Air travel can be stressful. It can be overwhelming. You never know why someone is traveling. Regardless of the age of the traveler, our C.O.P.E. dogs are always met with a smile," said Colin Riccobon, Director of Public and Government Relations for Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority.

The airport's C.O.P.E. program - Canines Offering Passengers Encouragement - has been around since 2015.

"We make people happy, we make them smile. People who are anxious, nervous, maybe upset because their flight is laid over...we are just here to make them feel better," said dog handler, Jim Carlson.

The program aims to bring smiles and laughter to the faces of travelers in the airport terminal and also put them at ease during what can be a difficult time.

"When I saw the dog, I wanted to pet it. I kind of needed the morality boost. I was a little sad. It's been a hard day," said traveler, Danny Alva.

Carlson says dogs do such a great job relating to the feelings they get and they really help calm people and make the smile.

And it's those reactions from passengers that show the C.O.P.E. program is doing its job.

"We are happy and pleased that we can do something and help somebody," said dog handler, Didi Carlson.

For more information on Lehigh Valley International Airport's C.O.P.E. Program, CLICK HERE.
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