Therapy dogs now at San Francisco airport for stressed travelers

Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- San Francisco has joined the list of U.S. cities where tired and frustrated air travelers can relieve their stress by petting a pooch, airport officials say.

This month, volunteers with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals started bringing their dogs to San Francisco's airport with hopes the opportunity to pet the tail-wagging canines will brighten weary travelers' time in the terminal, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. The organization has about 250 pets enrolled in its therapy program, with about a dozen wearing "Pet me" vests working at the airport so far.

The canine greeters include Jenna, a cocker spaniel mix sporting fluffy white fur and a Santa collar.

"How cute! I've never seen dogs in an airport before. Of course you just can't resist," said Jenny Cornett, who had traveled from Sonora, Texas. "Oh my gosh, she's adorable."

San Francisco joins Los Angeles, Buffalo, N.Y., and communities in Florida in offering pet therapy at its airport, the newspaper said.

"We're always looking for new ways to surprise and delight our travelers," airport spokesman Doug Yakel said. "We try to make the terminal environment as enjoyable as possible."

Airport employees also enjoy having the dogs around, the Chronicle said.

"It can get crazy round here. Anything that calms people's frazzled nerves [is welcome]. ... We're all dog lovers here," American Airlines ticket agent Sue Van Sweden said.

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