The Wag Brigade program was first launched in 2013 and partners with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to train and certify animals to give emotional support and stress relief to travelers.
Source: Mercury News/YouTube
The Wag Brigade at the San Francisco International Airport helps calm the nerves of travelers while also looking stinking cute. The participating animals include LiLou the pig, Alex a giant 34-pound rabbit, and a mix of 12 dogs and cats. Each animal works a two-hour shift once per week.
The animals reportedly undergo an evaluation to determine if they can handle the chaotic airport environment.
“We do meet a lot of people here in the airport who have never met a dog, who’ve never pet a dog,” Jennifer Kazarian, who runs the Wag Brigade at SFO, told Axios. “As a child might do, they walk right up to the dog and try to stick a finger in the eyeball or in the mouth, or just grab a tail or an ear. So we need to make sure that [the animal is] going to be okay.”
She said that the Wag Brigade is “the unicorns of therapy animals.”
The animals go where the crowds are and wear black vests with the words “Pet me”. The team eventually hopes to expand the program and help more passengers feel at ease in the chaos that is the airport.
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