Airports are among the most stressful places people go to. More often than not, passengers are grumpy over delayed flights and long security lines. Fortunately, the travelers coming from the San Francisco International Airport are temporarily relieved from stress, thanks to the so-called Wag Brigade.
The Wag Brigade is SFO’s pack of volunteer therapy dogs. They are donned on bright blue vests marked with a massive “Pet Me!” sign, urging passengers to come and cuddle with them. While most working canines in the airport are not to be touched, the airport makes an exception for this special team.
The Wag Brigade boasts of over 20 therapy dogs and the first-ever therapy pig. They go in batches every day for the entire week and give comfort to passengers who most need them. They would typically come to terminals where flights are delayed, so they can entertain the grumpy travelers while they wait.
The idea of having therapy dogs in the airport initially came from the Mineta San Jose International Airport. One of the airfield’s employees decided to bring his dog to work to lessen the traveler’s stress and anxieties following 9/11.
Numerous airports followed suit, and SFO launched theirs in 2013. According to Jennifer Kazarian, who handles the therapy dog team, they only had six dogs by then. After they received positive feedback and witnessed the effects of having the canines on board, they decided to bring in more volunteers.
All of their canines had finished the Animal Assisted Interactions (AAI) training program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The team was specifically chosen and trained to handle various situations at the airport.
Jennifer mentioned that not all therapy dogs are fit for the airport environment as the crowds are larger and more diverse compared to nursing homes and hospitals. Thankfully, they had numerous canines volunteering for the job and are doing well in uplifting the purpose of the Wag Brigade. Look at this adorable dog pack here.
Courtesy of sfowagbrigade