Long Beach Airport (LGB) is offering a new amenity aimed at reducing travel stress. The STARS (Simple Therapy And Real Smiles) program provides trained therapy dogs to comfort travelers making their way through the airport. After a successful pilot, the STARS program officially launched yesterday, Oct. 30, with nine therapy dogs.
“The Long Beach Airport is one of the most relaxing airports to fly in and out of,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We’re really excited to be adding therapy dogs to make air travel through Long Beach an even more exciting experience.”
To commemorate the occasion, the airport held a ceremony formally introducing the dogs and their handlers. The therapy dogs were outfitted with personalized vests, identifying their names and encouraging the public to stop and pet them. Each of the nine dogs also has its own trading card, which can be requested from the handler. The dog handlers are all official volunteers with the airport.
“The feedback from our travelers has been extremely positive,” said Cynthia Guidry, Long Beach Airport Director. “We love the pure delight that these dogs bring our passengers and how often we see travelers interacting and even taking selfies with our furry friends.”
The dogs vary in size and breed, from a chihuahua-terrier to a golden retriever to a labradoodle. The oldest participating dog, Coco, is a 12-year-old standard poodle and the youngest, Harmony, is a two-year-old lemon beagle. Travelers can encounter the dogs on the concourse, where they will be identified by their vests.
Travelers are encouraged to share their selfies with the dogs on social media and tag #AirportTherapyDogs and #FlyLGB.