Airport’s team of therapy animals has grown to include more than just dogs
(IN SHORT) San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Wag Brigade, a team of certified stress-relief animals that provide comfort to travelers in the terminals. Launched in December 2013, the Wag Brigade originally consisted of dogs but has expanded to include various animals certified through the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program. These therapy animals have become a beloved addition to the airport, easing passenger stress and enhancing the travel experience.
(PRESS RELEASE) SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 2023-Dec-8 — /Travel PR News/ — The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Wag Brigade, the Airport’s team of certified stress-relief animals. Launched in December 2013, the Wag Brigade brings trained animals to the terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable. The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA) certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program.
“Our vision for an extraordinary airport experience is about making air travel less stressful and creating moments of surprise and delight for our guests,” said Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “From its launch ten years ago, the Wag Brigade has been a favorite of passengers and employees alike. My thanks go out to the San Francisco SPCA for this lasting partnership and to the dozens of pet owners who have so generously volunteered their time over the years.”
“After a decade of the Wag Brigade, we are proud to celebrate these incredible volunteers for transforming travel into a more comforting experience,” said SF SPCA CEO Dr. Jennifer Scarlett. “Their presence at SFO highlights the remarkable impact that animal companions have on easing passenger stress and enhancing the journey.”
Although the program launched solely with dogs, it has grown over the years to include other animals who have graduated from the AAT training program. In December 2016, SFO welcomed Lilou, a Juliana-breed pig, the first known airport therapy pig in the United States. In March 2022, a new member was announced: a 28-pound Flemish Giant rabbit named Alex the Great, who was already known for making appearances at San Francisco Giants baseball and Golden State Warriors basketball games. And in May this year, SFO welcomed Duke the Cat, who had been rescued from the streets of San Francisco.
All participating animals are graduates of the San Francisco SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) training program and are required to visit SFO prior to formal acceptance into the Wag Brigade program. Animals are evaluated for temperament and comfort with large crowds, security requirements, and the airport environment. The handlers are the dogs’ owners and accompany the animals at all times. Handlers wear identifying vests, and each attends classroom and in-terminal training to become familiar with the Airport and assist customers with general inquiries.
For more information about the Wag Brigade, please visit: www.flysfo.com/wag-brigade
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Public Information Officer
External Affairs Office
San Francisco International Airport
Source: San Francisco International Airport