SMF Adds Therapy Animals during Holiday Travel Season

SACRAMENTO -- Holiday season airport lines can test the patience of any traveler, especially this year, after Sacramento International Airport added more flights and larger airplanes to their roster.

"There are 75,000 more seats available for sale this Thanksgiving to fly out of Sacramento, than there were last year," airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said.

The parking lots are expected to fill up, and added steps at TSA check points mean going through security will take much longer.

To help, stress-relief dogs were on hand Wednesday. All season long, 30 therapy dogs with the airport's special Boarding Area Relaxation Corps (BARC) will be on duty.

Their sole job is to bring the "aww" factor to relive stress.

"It's very heart warming when people are across the lobby at a gate waiting, and you see them smile, simply when they see the dogs coming down their way," BARC volunteer Laura Landman said.

Diesel, a 10-year-old Australian Shephard, has been here for many holiday seasons. His fluffy coat and unique eyes make him a favorite here.

"I was excited to give it a hug. Are you kidding me? I wasn't sure if you were able to do it or not or what, but I feel way better about my flight now," Trinda Klemm, who is flying to Minneapolis, told FOX40.

He's even mastered the Bon Voyage wave but his handler says his days are numbered.

"Unfortunately he does have cancer, so this might be one of his last times that he will be able to come to the airport," BARC volunteer Susan Berli said.

Until that fateful day comes, he and his handler will be here, doing what they love.

"We're glad to be here, and wish everybody a happy thanksgiving," she said.

A small gesture of appreciation, perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday.