More and more airports around the country are hiring therapy dogs to help passengers with flight anxiety. And for those whose worries can’t be assuaged by a dog, one airport is bringing in something bigger.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport just introduced two therapy miniature horses to help calm down passengers before they fly.
Twice a month, Denver and Ruby — two therapy horses from Seven Oaks Farm in southwest Ohio — stand emotional guard at the ticketing area of the Cincinnati airport. Passengers who are feeling nervous pre-flight can spend time with the two mini therapy horses before passing through security.
“It's just to ease anxiety levels, put smiles on faces,” Wendi Orlando, a spokesperson for the airport, told NPR. “Clearly that's working. When you look at the passengers walking by, it just never gets old. They love seeing the horses.”
Last year, the horses worked at the airport in disguise as “therapy unicorns,” with manes dyed vibrant shades of pink. (They were ahead of the trend.)
When the horses are not calming passengers at Cincinnati airport, they provide emotional support at nursing homes, hospitals and community events.
Cincinnati is not the only airport with a more unusual therapy animal on staff. Last year, the San Francisco International Airport hired a therapy pig named LiLou to come in and calm passengers down while wearing a blue tutu.