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Therapy Dogs To Help Alleviate Travel Anxiety At New York-Based Airport

Nicole Barylski

Cooper, a therapy dog, at Terminal B. (Courtesy Photo)

We can all admit that traveling can be particularly stressful, especially during the holidays. To alleviate some of that unneeded hassle, Bideawee, an animal welfare and pet adoption organization serving metropolitan New York and Long Island, partnered with LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the operator and developer of LaGuardia Central Terminal B.

Every weekend - on Fridays, Bideawee volunteers and therapy dogs provide some furtastic stress relief for travelers by allowing those passing through to interact with the irresistible animals. The group has been visiting the airport on a weekly basis since Thanksgiving.

"For more than 30 years, we've been training volunteer handlers and animals to be able to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other businesses to positively affect those in need of their love and support," said Alicia Ryan, Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs at Bideawee. "We are happy to offer our therapy dog services to travelers at LaGuardia's Terminal B. In addition to helping reduce the stress of travel, it also benefits our therapy dogs. They enjoy the attention and affection they receive from their visits. We look forward to continuing this partnership through February 2018."

Nephertiti dons the designated bandana. (Courtesy Photo)

Bideawee's visitors don branded bandanas to distinguish them from other traveling canines. Passengers can play with the pups as they wait to depart and even leave New York with a special souvenir trading card that features the animal's photo and name.

"It's no secret that the holiday season can be hectic, which is why we are so happy to have this wonderful comfort dog program for our guests at Terminal B," said Ed Baklor, Chief Commercial Officer, LaGuardia Gateway Partners. "Just seeing these dogs brings a smile to so many people's faces, including our hard-working staff. LaGuardia Gateway Partners wants all of our visitors to have a great experience during their travels, and this is just one of the ways we are working to make that happen."

Cooper with Lou D'Amore. (Courtesy Photo)

Bideawee also recently debuted its Veterans Pet Project, which allows military veterans to adopt Bideaweens for free and take advantage of discounts at Bideawee's Animal Hospitals in Westhampton and Manhattan, Pet Memorial Parks in Wantagh and Westhampton and other pet services.

Bideawee's Chief Operating Officer and VP Finance and Administration, Ray Cushmore spearheaded the fundraising campaign. "We all know the happiness pets bring to people, but companion animals can be especially important to military veterans," said Cushmore. "Pets provide unwavering love and loyalty, and may even help veterans feel more comfortable and protected in social settings. Not only will the Veterans Pet Project help military veterans, but it will also be helping adoptable pets get into loving homes."

Bideawee also recently debuted its Veterans Pet Project. (Courtesy Photo)

Cushmore launched the benefit by participating in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. this past October. His fundraising efforts raised $2,000 and Bideawee will continue raising more funds to support the program.

Cushmore, along with VP of Development Jennifer Goodwin, have been engaging with other charitable organizations, like the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Team Red, White & Blue and The Mission Continues, to learn additional ways to aid veterans re-engage in their communities after service.

Bideawee is located at 118 Old Country Road in Westhampton. For more information, visit www.bideawee.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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