Meet the Therapy Dogs De-Stressing Super Bowl Travelers at the Minneapolis Airport

Photos: Kelly McDuff

The Vikings may not be bringing it home (sigh), but there’s still plenty to be excited about — the big game is coming to our back yard! And when the potentially one hundred thousand (or more!) travelers pass through MSP airport on their way to Super Bowl festivities, they’ll be greeted by cuddly, good-natured, therapy dogs.

We were lucky enough to talk to local human Kelly McDuff about her therapy dog, Titan — an eight-year-old miniature long-haired Dachshund with heart-melting eyes and the friendliest vibe of any pup you’ve met. Read on for our interview with Kelly about how therapy dogs are lightening Super Bowl travelers’ stress with wet noses and wagging tails.

SWD: Tell us about your cute lil’ therapy-givin’ guy. How long has he had this gig?

KM: Our first visit to MSP airport was almost one year ago. We try to volunteer there at least once per month.

SWD: With air travel being the stress-fest that it is, it’s a needed service! What do you and Titan enjoy about volunteering at the airport?

KM: We visit a memory-care unit in a nursing home every week, so the airport is a great change of pace for us. You never know who you will meet, and it’s fun chatting with people from all over the world. It’s definitely nice to be able to take Titan on a 1.4 mile walk around Terminal 1 when it’s -10F outside, and I think he enjoys that too! 

(Editor’s note: speaking of dog-friendly indoor spots in this cold weather, we’ve dug up a pawful lot of Twin Cities hotspots that allow pups inside. Click here and here for some tail-wagging options!)

SWD: How does Titan react to being at the airport for this gig?

KM: He is always super excited when we get there and very happy to go through security and begin our visit. Once inside security he settles in and is generally very mellow and chill. He knows he’s working!

therapy dogs msp airport

World’s cutest ruff-erees.

SWD: We bet he’s good at his job!

KM: I think the best thing about Titan is how he’s so well accustomed to different situations — he welcomes anyone who approaches him to visit. He is very relaxed and mellow and has an “anything-goes” attitude while we are visiting, which is surprising to a lot of people (especially those who know Dachshunds)!

SWD: What a good boy! Let’s talk Super Bowl therapy. What are you looking forward to about the pre-game airport visits?

KM: It’s neat neat to see how the airport has been preparing for the upcoming event — every time we visit, there is a new store or restaurant, or new artwork on display. And we know it’ll be busy! We have visited before near holidays and it’s been nuts; I can only imagine how crazy it will be with everyone flying in for the Super Bowl. I think it’s the most fun to visit when it’s busy, and I am hoping for some celebrity sightings!

If you’re looking to get involved like Kelly and Titan, MSP airport welcomes any human-dog team that’s registered with a therapy-dog organization. Click here for more info on becoming an MSP Animal Ambassador.

We want to know about your therapy dog experience, at the airport or otherwise. Let us know in the comments, and tag your Instagram pics with #SidewalkDog to keep spreading the mother-fluffin’ canine joy.

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