April 30th marks National Therapy Animal Day and Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, known at Bradley International Airport as the Bradley Buddies, were honored with a celebration thanking these special dogs for their service.
Their job? Greeting passengers checking in for flights, welcoming travelers at the gate as they arrive at Bradley, and helping them pass time and relax while waiting for their luggage at baggage claim. Basically, the Bradley Buddies are ambassadors of friendship. People love that they actually get to pet the Buddies. At airports around the country, travelers are accustomed to seeing service dogs and security dogs, both which cannot be petted due to the types of jobs they perform.
The Bradley Buddies bring smiles, and sometimes tears, to the faces of young and old, alike.
A child with a fear of flying forgets all about his worries after hugging and petting Lily, my sweet, gentle English Setter, and a woman whose flight has been delayed an extra hour enjoys petting Comet, a super-friendly Golden Retriever and talking to his handler. Some are flying in or out of Bradley to visit a sick or dying relative. Petting a Buddy offers much needed comfort at a difficult time. And, some travelers want to learn how to get their dog certified as a Bright Spot Therapy Dog. The dogs elicit lots of happy conversations and promote a relaxed atmosphere.
Bradley International is one of only a few airports in the country with certified therapy dogs on hand.
The Bradley Buddies have been at work just eight months since the program launched last August 2017. We currently have fourteen Bright Spot Therapy Dogs and twelve handlers in the program. Eleven out of fourteen of the Buddies were present at today’s National Therapy Animal Celebration and posed for their official Bradley Buddies group photo.
Special treats were given to the honored Buddies…
Each Bradley Buddy left with a new blue leash embroidered with Bradley Buddies, a collapsible water bowl, and Bradley Buddies red bandana. While the dogs did their job – mingling with travelers stopping by the celebration area, the Bradley Buddies’ handlers enjoyed goodies and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, a chance to interact with one another, and of course, chat with passengers.
It’s very clear that the Bright Spot Therapy Dogs Bradley Buddies are helping travelers Love the Journey.
Watch for our Bradley Buddies wearing their blue Buddies vests when you’re traveling in and out of Bradley! With 12 Buddies Teams visiting at various times during the week, you just might meet King (or sister Lily), Comet (or sister Clementine), Raven, James, Sally, Deja vu, Jackson, Faith, Frigo, Chief, Watson, or Oliver!