These adorable pics of dogs at airports show why pups are the ultimate stress reliever.

Airports are stressful.

Even the most relaxing vacations usually start with you dragging a half-broken suitcase through a maze of terminals and expensive egg sandwiches while removing your shoes in public and wondering if you forgot your neck pillow. (You did.)


You also forgot your headphones. Have a nice flight! Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Things get way worse if you miss your plane or have to sit through a nine-hour delay. There's only so much CNN a person can watch before they start wanting to punch Wolf Blitzer in the mouth (about 5 minutes by my estimate).

"The most common thing we notice at airports is that most passengers don’t smile at all," says Aakash Lonkar.

Lonkar, a director at Animal Angels Foundation, which specializes in animal-assisted therapy, says there's one thing that always changes people's moods, even at airports: dogs.

"Whenever they see a dog, a natural smile comes on their faces — they keep their bags aside and pet the dogs. The entire mood at the airport changes," Lonkar told The Better India.

This is a picture of a very not-stressed-out person. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

That's why Animal Angels, an non-governmental organization in India, has started bringing dogs to Mumbai Airport (with the airport's permission, of course).

When it comes to animal-assisted therapy, animals are "a catalyst to help the patients help themselves," explains the Animal Angels website. "For example, a child may not want to walk or reach after surgery because it is painful, but will happily take a dog for a walk or throw a ball, forgetting the pain for a little while and moving closer to going home."

Photo from Animal Angels Foundation, used with permission.

While people waiting in line at the airport may not be recovering from surgery, the physical and emotional stress of traveling is no joke, and neither is the healing ability of some animal company. Being able to spend a few minutes with a friendly dog can do wonders to relieve that burden on passengers coming on or off their flights.

So far the group has brought three golden retrievers (named Pepe, Goldie, and Sunshine) to provide some much needed smiles at the busy Terminal T2.

It's a simple solution that has had hugely positive effects — Lonkar even said that some people cry when they see the dogs "because their stress is immediately released."

Photo from Animal Angels Foundation, used with permission.

The stress-relieving abilities of dogs are no secret, and other airlines and airports have run similar programs.

Many studies have found that spending even a short amount of time with a pet can lower blood pressure and stress hormones like cortisol while raising oxytocin, which is linked to happiness and relaxation.

San Jose International Airport was one of the first to introduce the concept of therapy dogs to airports following the events of 9/11. Since then, airports in other cities like Los Angeles and Miami have followed suit.


In 2013, San Francisco International Airport welcomed what it calls the "wag brigade," a legion of adorable dogs whose job it is to be adorable dogs while people are at the airport.


A boy pets a therapy dog at San Francisco International Airport. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

The Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin, also has a therapy dog program — though if you ask me, it's a totally missed opportunity if none of their dogs are Great Danes:

The point is this — dogs are awesome and they make people happy, and it'd be great to see more programs like this at other places too.

There should be dogs at work! There should be dogs when you're studying for finals! There should be dogs at the supermarket to help you deal with that lady in front of you who's somehow in the midst of her very first encounter with a self-checkout machine even though that technology has been around since the early '90s. And there should 100% absolutely and completely be dogs around at the DMV. Just thinking about that place makes me stressed.

Therapy dogs everywhere! C'mon, who's with me?

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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