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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?

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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