locally owned since 1854

Puppies give holiday travelers a furry surprise at Harrisburg International Airport on Wednesday

By David Barr

davidbarr@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/22/17

Holiday travelers were given a surprise as they arrived or departed at Harrisburg International Airport on Wednesday morning.

In fact, they were given several surprises, in the form of 17 …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Puppies give holiday travelers a furry surprise at Harrisburg International Airport on Wednesday

Posted

Holiday travelers were given a surprise as they arrived or departed at Harrisburg International Airport on Wednesday morning.

In fact, they were given several surprises, in the form of 17 Labrador puppies at three locations in the airport, one before going through security and two after security checkpoints.

The puppies were associated with the Susquehanna Service Dogs, an organization that breeds, raises, and trains service dogs to aid people who deal with physical and psychiatric disabilities, according to SSD Development Director Kerry Wevodau.

The event had two purposes: Induce relaxation into travelers and bring more attention to the organization. Mission accomplished on both fronts, as dozens of passengers approached the penned areas to pet and snuggle with the dogs and received verbal and written information about the organization that provided them.

“Who doesn’t get relief hugging a puppy?” Wevodau said.

Alexis Belis and Henry Colburn of Los Angeles certainly got relief as they took turns holding Franz, a black lab pup. Belis gave a definitive yes when asked if holding and petting Franz was a stress-reliever for her.

“It’s nice to get off the plane and be able to pick up a puppy,” Belis said.

Her feelings were echoed by Eileen Garrity and Kevin Fitzgerald of Chicago. While they didn’t have as long of a flight as Belis and Colburn, they nevertheless felt the positive benefits of snuggling a puppy after arriving at HIA, as evidenced by their smiles.

“It’s a nice gesture to greet people when they come off a flight,” Garrity said. “It’s a really sweet idea to do.”

While passersby young and old were enamored with the furry stress relievers, babies and young children seemed to garner the most attention, as parents didn’t miss an opportunity to capture the moment on camera as their young one approached one of the puppies to carefully pet it.

Penelope Torruellas and her mom, Katie Calligan were traveling back to Florida after spending a week in Pennsylvania visiting family, but not before Penelope spent several minutes petting the puppies, with squeals of laughter emanating from her as she bonded with the pups.

Shawn Gable, the marketing manager for HIA had the idea to bring the puppies into the airport on Wednesday, citing the fact that it was “mutually beneficial to all parties” that they had dogs there to greet passengers before or after they boarded a plane.

“It takes the stress out of things, thought why not add a de-stresser?” Gable said. “A cute de-stresser,” he added.