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Therapy Miniature Horses Help Fearful Flyers in Cincinnati Airport -- How?

May 15, 2017 11:19 AM EDT
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Mini horses comfort anxious travelers in Ohio with the animal therapy program.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Airports can be infinitely stressful with the long queues, the crowds, the unreliable flights and the occasional man's fear of flying.

According to a report from NPR, miniature horses visit the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport twice a month to soothe anxious passengers passing through. A few of the therapy horses from the Seven Oaks Farm in southwest Ohio come to the airport to the delight of the staff and travelers.

Owner Lisa Moad said that a lot of the passengers are appreciative of the comfort that the miniature horses provide. Many of them share how the minature horses soothed their nerves and ease their breathing. There are a number who even schedule their flights on days they know the gentle animals would be there.

"It's just to ease anxiety levels, put smiles on faces," airport official Wendi Orlando told NPR. "Clearly that's working. When you look at the passengers walking by, it just never gets old. They love seeing the horses."

The miniature horses are trained to be around the airport setting, so they don't mind the passengers approaching them whether its for a pat, a cuddle or a picture.

This Ohio airport was eyeing therapy dogs initially, then they found out about Moad and her miniature horse therapy program. The horses might seem like a novel idea, but there are a variety of therapy animals across the United States offering relief to frequent flyers. A few dozen airports already have therapy dogs.

San Francisco even has a therapy pig named LiLou, according to a report from USA Today. The first certified pig of Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, LiLou doesn't just offer comfort. She can also perform a number of nifty tricks such as greeting people with her snout or a wave, twirling, and standing on her back hooves. The pig can also play a toy piano - and bow after her performance, of course.

What's the next therapy animal you'd like to see?

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