Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) is among a small group of airports nationwide that are using therapy dogs to help make the airport experience and overall travel experience less stressful. In understanding that folks travel for a variety of different reasons and sometimes under stressful situations, these dogs provide a great opportunity to put smiles on travelers’ faces and to calm those frazzled nerves. CAE is working with Therapy Dogs Inc. which is a non-profit organization that provides comfort and stress relief at other facilities as well as at hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.
CAE’s Therapy Dog team currently consists of Loki, a 2-year old Aussiedoodle (Australian Shepherd/Poodle mix), and Ziva, a 4-year old German Shepherd. Both dogs, along with their handlers, have undergone specialized training through Therapy Dogs Inc. before becoming a part of the airport team. Loki and Ziva both wear colored vests that read “Pet Me” to encourage travelers to interact with them. The program has also been instrumental in calming the nerves of new recruits that arrive for basic training at Fort Jackson and so many of our other travelers. The addition of this new program to the airport is just another way CAE is striving to make the passenger experience memorable and stress-free.