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Bradley going to the dogs to help passengers

WINDSOR LOCKS -- Tuesday is National Therapy Animal Day and to celebrate, Bradley International Airport is saying thank you to a special group of volunteers bringing furry four legged friends to help travelers feel more at ease.

“Airports are very stressful,” said Vincent Valvo of Newington. “You see those animals there, they really they help calm you down, it brings a smile to your face, and it just makes the whole experience that much better.”

For some, traveling is stressful but these pups and their handlers from Bright Spot Therapy Dogs want to take the edge off.

“It’s my husband’s fault that we are here in the airport because he went through the Charlotte airport, and there was a foxhound there and he said, ‘what is Bradley doing?’ and I said I have no idea,  and so I emailed and they were very interested,” said Sally King a volunteer with Bright Spot Therapy Dogs.

From there, Sally, her dog James, and the rest of the crew at Bright Spot Therapy Dogs started volunteering at the airport.

They come a couple of times a week to wag, wave, and smile at folks coming and going.

“I really enjoy petting them,” said Piers Chapin, a traveler from Virginia. “It definitely makes me feel more at ease and happy and so I’m glad that they are here!”

“They’re really cute,” said John Roxburgh, another traveler from Virginia. “I love dogs.”

The Connecticut Airport Authority started the program back in 2017, and since then they have added 13 therapy dogs to their fleet.

“She loves everybody, not just her family,” Bright Spot Therapy Dogs volunteer, Paula Johnson said about her dog. “She has really walked right into this job, and when I get her vest out in the morning she just looks at me like oh I get to go to Bradley!”

These pups and their owners are doing important work that feels like fun that also does a lot of good for so many people.

“Sometimes you could be standing there and taking to someone, and someone else will come along and pet the dogs and burst into tears,” said King. “They find them to be very soothing.”

The dogs can’t speak, yet they seem to know exactly what to say.

“It’s fun, and time just flies by,” said King.

Time flies by hopefully a little less stressful before you fly away!

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