BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira Corning Regional Airport is working to help ease travelers’ stress before the holidays by introducing its new program featuring therapy dogs.

The Alliance Therapy Dogs is a national organization of volunteers with dogs that participate in animal-assisted activities while providing testing, certification, and support for its members.

Travelers can pet and cuddle with the dogs before and after checking in to their flights and after going through TSA.

Airport visitor greeting Maisie, a rescue dog from the border of Mexico.

Among the volunteers, Shona Freeman, the owner of Wyatt, a four-year-old Golden Doodle with the program, who is friendly to all, says this program is not only helpful for those nervous about their flight but also for those who aren’t frequent flyers.

Airport visitor interacting with Wyatt before heading to TSA.

“We just thought that it’s a really good program, and they have it at other airports. The airport is another great place because the pets ease travelers’ stress, and a lot of people are definitely stressful flyers,” said Shona Freeman, a member of the Alliance Therapy Dogs.

The volunteers will continue supporting the airport and visits schools, nursing homes, and libraries.

“You see a lot of children who don’t have an outlet, and they really need that extra, you know, that extra support. That’s what these dogs do”, said Michele Macri, Volunteer and member of the Alliance Therapy Dogs.

Anyone interested in joining the Alliance Therapy Dog program can contact Dog is Good in Horseheads, New York, at the number on its page.

“If you have the time, it’s rewarding to see kids, passengers, and people in the nursing home. It’s just super rewarding,” said Freeman.