Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport launches therapy dog program

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 2:10 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Passengers traveling through Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport will experience some puppy love starting today.

The new four-legged friends are meant to bring smiles and calm fears.

“Today we are officially launching our pet therapy program called PawsAero,” explains Airport Director Marty Piette.

Four certified therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers will be a common sight around the airport.

“They will be able to roam around the terminal building, calming any fears or anxiousness that our passengers may be experiencing, personally I’m not anxious to fly, I just can’t wait to play with the pet therapy dogs,” says Piette.

“And for the travelers who are coming through our gates obviously what a great way for them to experience the love and joy of these dogs,” adds Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

The program is open to certified therapy dogs and their pet parent who are willing to volunteer their time to greet travelers.

The current roster includes Blue, a 15-month old mini-Australian Shepherd, Ballie a 115-pound Newfoundland, Tucker, a 2 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Rizzo, a 2-year old Australian Shepherd.

“Rizzo is never shy on wanting to say hello and snuggle, so he’s a great dog, I’m lucky I found him, I’m lucky he picked me,” says Rizzo’s owner Shirley Seymour.

“I hope she can serve as like a settling factor for some people who may have anxiety flying, I know when I come home from work, especially if it’s been a taxing day, when I see her I know I calm down, so I’m hoping to pass that along too,” adds Rick Barlament, Blue’s owner.

And for passengers meeting these friendly faces, they’ll leave with a little souvenir.

“We had hundreds of cards made up, everyone who gets to meet the dog gets a card, that way it’s a little remembrance,” says Barlament.

The therapy dogs won’t be at the airport 24/7, but they will be during busy travel times, including the holidays and Packers games.

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