H-NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Sep 15, 2011 12:53 PM by Kelly Orsini, NBC News

Therapy dog brings comfort to airport passengers

You may not notice it when traveling, but there's pain, sadness and grief at the airport.

Free therapy is available in the San Jose airport, offering comfort to anyone who needs it. It comes from someone who doesn't say a word. A volunteer chaplain and her therapy dog, Henry wander the terminal, and the personal stories that emerge are amazing.

Some goodbyes are not easy. A hug from someone you might not see in another year or two.

Others are leaving a sick parent or perhaps boarding a plane to visit one. For those travelers who might need a hug or a smile, there's Henry James, a three-and-a-half year old Golden Retriever therapy dog.

He belongs to Kyra Hubis -- volunteer chaplain at the airport.

"I've walked the terminal without him and people don't come up to me, but if i walk the terminal with him he's an ice breaker," Hubis said.

"It's wonderful," said passenger Gwen Hepler, "So many people are uptight flying, meeting people, it's not a relaxing, pleasant experience for a lot of people."

Henry James knows when it's time to wag his tail and when it's time to just sit and listen like he did to one couple to two weeks ago.

"His wife saw him, knelt down on the floor, buried her head in his fur and for a good two or three minutes was sobbing and telling him her father was dying in town here and that she and her husband were having to leave and she didn't know if she was ever going to see him again," Hubis said.

Henry James listened.

"He just brought me joy," said passenger Robin McIntire, "He's a hug and kisser. He's a big fluff ball. Who wouldn't want to hug on him."

When two sisters were waiting for their flight at Terminal B, and their pain was visible, there was Henry James.

He can't speak to them, can't say the words that might ease the pain. But on this day Henry James was part of their therapy.

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