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C.O.P.E. Therapy Dogs

C.O.P.E. Therapy Dogs

March 3, 2020

COPE Therapy Dogs


A “ruff’ and stressful day is always overshadowed by a visit from Sherman, Duke, Logan, or Rustle at your neighborhood airport.

Since December 2016, the Canines Offering Passengers Encouragement (C.O.P.E.) program has become one of the most popular amenities we’ve added to the customer service experience.

As of 2018, 58 U.S. airports implemented animal therapy programs. I guess, it’s a safe question to ask, why?

“A member of the community approached the airport about starting a therapy dog program, so I did some research from other airports and the C.O.P.E. therapy dog program was formed” said Paula Bonstein, Manager of Customer Experience.

Scientific studies have provided support that air travelers experience stress, anxiety, and a feeling of being overwhelmed in the airport. These studies also support the use of therapy dogs to help reduce stress.

Petting a dog increases your happiness hormone (oxytocin) and decreases your stress hormone (cortisol) which ultimately relieves anxiety and stress making your trip to the airport a lot more enjoyable. Plus, nothing beats the unconditional love you’ll get before you take flight.

Currently, ABE has 21 dog/handler teams as part of the C.O.P.E. program:

Many of the handlers identify their most effective time frame for impacting the passengers with a positive vibe occurs during the busier flight times and when the Main Terminal / Departure Terminal present a hectic environment.

Are you interested in joining the C.O.P.E. program? Details on how to apply are listed in the link below:

“There is a process of vetting the handlers and therapy dogs to become members of the ABE C.O.P.E. program, but seeing the reactions and listening to the passengers and their stories is a reward in itself for the handlers.” said Paula Bonstein.

The next time you fly through your neighborhood airport, keep an eye out for one of our four-legged furry friends in their blue C.O.P.E bandannas!