CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — If you were one of the unlucky travelers who got stuck with either a delay or cancelation at an airport this spring break, you might have noticed therapy dogs walking around.

In West Michigan, volunteers with the nonprofit West Michigan Therapy Dogs volunteer in two-hour time blocks to greet flyers and soothe travel anxiety with the help of their furry friends.

“We’ve seen it be really helpful for kids,” said Haley Abbas, marketing and communications manager at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The dogs help “those who might have mobility limitations [and] those who might have cognitive or hidden disabilities. Really anyone of all ages can utilize these therapy dogs when they come to the airport.”

Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are meant to be pet and played with. The airport’s Gentle Fur In Action program started in 2013. Since its inception, Abbas said they’ve seen dozens of pups help relieve stress and anxiety, especially during busy travel weeks like spring break.

“We own our own dogs and train our own dogs,” said Jan Mclean, one of the volunteers. “They come home with us, and we volunteer our time at different facilities.”

She said each dog goes through rigorous training and is evaluated for temperament and noise sensitivities before being assigned around town.

“When there are delays and when there are issues with flying, people love just to pet them,” said Mclean.

The therapy dog service is free to the public. You can request the service for worried flyers or those with disabilities through the airport’s online portal.

Abbas said they typically like to have at least a week’s heads-up so that they can coordinate dogs and their handlers. Then, the dog will meet you at the baggage carousel and can stay with you at your gate until takeoff.