Burlington, VT – For travelers departing from Burlington International Airport (BTV), a heartwarming welcome awaits in the form of a four-legged friend named Ellie Mae. As BTV Airport celebrates the one-year anniversary of its pet therapy program,
Stress before a flight is a common experience for many, but Ellie Mae, a therapy dog at BTV, has been making flying a bit easier for those who cross her path. Aminata Casse, a traveler heading to West Africa, expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “They should literally do this in every airport, have therapy dogs like Ellie Mae.” Robin Cousins, traveling to Illinois, concurred, stating, “I think therapy dogs should be everywhere. They put people at ease and they’re great to have around.”
It’s not an everyday occurrence to find passengers petting dogs before takeoff, but when they do, it’s all about spreading positive vibes. Passengers like Krista Butterfield and Ashley Michalewicz, en route to Texas, shared their delight, with Krista mentioning, “She is a welcome surprise. I love to see her,” and Ashley adding, “I left my three dogs at home, so it’s nice to reconnect with a furry friend.” Aminata Casse chimed in, “She’s so sweet, so cute, and good all the time, very gorgeous.”
Ellie Mae, a six-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer from Timberlake Kennels in Florida, has been an integral part of the pet therapy program, which resumed last September after a pandemic-related shutdown. John Wrobel, who owns Ellie Mae, treasures the smiles she brings to passengers’ faces, declaring, “She’s our baby, my wife and I, she would be our second child.” Even some passengers couldn’t resist the temptation to take Ellie Mae home, as Krista and Ashley humorously admitted.
Reflecting on the impact of Ellie Mae’s presence, Aminata Casse shared, “I used to be very scared before traveling, so having something like this gives you positive vibes and energy, especially for those who are scared.”
If you’re interested in having your pet become a therapy dog, you can have them trained through Therapy Dog Inc. John Wrobel, Ellie Mae’s owner, hopes to see more airports bring in therapy dogs to spread happiness and comfort among travelers.