Therapy dogs help de-stress travelers at Long Beach Airport

LONG BEACH, California (KABC) -- "Do you want to pet my dog?" Cindy Fitzpatrick asked travelers at the Long Beach Airport with her 7-year-old German Shepherd, Zuba, by her side.

Fitzpatrick and Zuba are part of the Long Beach Airport's new dog therapy program, STARS, that debuted on October 30.

"It stands for 'Simple Therapy and Real Smiles,'" said the airport's Public Affairs Assistant, Kimberly McMahon. "The reaction has been amazing."

The purpose of the program is to provide a chance for travelers and airport employees to de-stress.

"A lot of people have anxiety and when you're running late, it's great to have a dog and the opportunity to mellow out a little before you have to go on the plane," said Lori Jensen from Irvine.

There are 9 certified therapy dogs currently in the STARS program, and a wait list of other therapy dogs and handlers who want to get involved.

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