Dane County Regional Airport Introduces Pet Therapy Program To Help Provide Stress Relief For Travelers, Staff

June 30, 2015
Brent S. McHenry 608-661-6442 or 608-443-6096

Pierre and his handler Dana Schreiber provide anxious travelers with relief

View Photography here

Madison, WI - The Dane County Regional Airport (DCRA) is pleased to announce the launch of its first pet therapy program with its first volunteer team of Pierre a French poodle, and his handler, Dana Schreiber. Always looking for ways to enhance the customer’s experience, the DCRA pet therapy program is an opportunity to provide stress relief and comfort to passengers through interaction with pets.

“Over the past several years, many of the major airports around the country have instituted similar programs,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are proud that Dane County Regional Airport is one of the leading regional airports to provide a pet therapy program. It’s just one more way that DCRA continues to be a high-quality, convenient travel experience in the county and south central Wisconsin,” Parisi said.

Schreiber and Pierre roam the terminal- including departures and gate areas - visiting passengers awaiting flights and providing comfort. Both Schreiber and Pierre have been trained to look for DCRA customers who might benefit from a visit.

“During the soft launch of the program, we’ve been pleased at how much they have added to not only our customer experience, but also to the stress relief of our staff,” said Airport Director Bradley Livingston. “Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received so far, we are looking forward to expanding this program so that we can have more trained pets and handlers during peak travel times.”

Pierre’s handler Dana Schreiber agrees that their experience at DCRA has been positive. “When Pierre and I walk through the terminal, we see people immediately smile, and when a passenger says, ‘Thank you for making my day and helping take some of my stress away’, that’s all Pierre and I need,” said Schreiber. “We are so happy to have been the first volunteers for this new program.”

Certification and Training
Pet therapy providers like Schreiber and Pierre the poodle are temperament tested and have previous experience with pet therapy, such as the Pet Partners program. The dogs must be privately owned and be at least two years old. All volunteers and dogs are registered and insured for animal-assisted activities.

Each volunteer goes through DCRA classroom and in-terminal training to learn about DCRA and how to assist passengers. They also complete a walk-through with their dog to make sure there is a good fit for both volunteer and dog. In addition, handlers are fingerprinted and badged.

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