Therapy Dogs at Airports

Dogs have always been a presence at airports, but their roles have evolved over the years. Traditionally, dogs at airports were “working” dogs (now known as therapy/service dogs), serving in various capacities but not open for public interaction. This restricted our ability to connect with these adorable animals, leaving us to admire them from a distance.

A Heartwarming Change: Therapy Dogs

In recent years, a heartwarming change has swept through many airports worldwide. Therapy dogs, known by various names such as the Wag Brigade, K9 Crews, and Canine Ambassadors, have become a common sight. These dogs wear vests or bandannas that bear the inviting message, “pet me!” Their primary mission is to alleviate passenger stress and bring smiles to travelers’ faces.

A Welcome Distraction for Travelers

For those travelers who are forced to leave their beloved pets behind, a friendly ear rub or a comforting lick from one of these therapy dogs can make their day a little brighter. These furry ambassadors are like a ray of sunshine in the bustling airport environment.

The Origin of Airport Therapy Dogs

The concept of therapy dogs in airports originated after the tragic events of 9/11. An airport chaplain at the San Jose airport in California brought in her own dog to provide solace to stressed and frightened passengers. This small but meaningful gesture sparked a movement that has since spread to many airports.

A Growing Movement

Today, approximately 30 airports across the United States, and even some international ones, have embraced therapy dog programs. These programs have become a source of comfort and relief for travelers dealing with the anxieties of modern air travel.

DFW Airport’s K9 Crew: A Prime Example

One such airport that has fully embraced this initiative is DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) Airport. They have established the “DFW K9 Crew,” consisting of 12 experienced therapy dogs and their dedicated handlers. These teams don “DFW K9 Crew” harnesses and matching uniforms and are committed to providing stress relief and comfort to passengers through their friendly presence.


Dogs with a Purpose

It’s important to note that all these therapy dogs undergo extensive training and certification by local therapy dog groups. This ensures that they not only thrive in the airport environment but also genuinely enjoy their role as sources of comfort and happiness.

Volunteers Spreading Joy

Remarkably, all these therapy dog and handler teams are volunteers who offer their time to put smiles on travelers’ faces. Their presence at the airport is a testament to the power of simple acts of kindness.

Seeking Therapy Dogs at Airports

While we’ve highlighted some of the therapy dog programs at specific airports, there are many more out there. Before your next journey, consider doing a quick search or keeping an eye out for these wonderful therapy dogs. You might just be fortunate enough to experience the uplifting presence of these amazing therapy animals.

Notable Airport Therapy Dog Programs

Additionally, several other airports in the United States and Canada, such as Miami (MIA), Albany (ALB), Phoenix (PHX), Charlotte (CLT), San Jose California (SJC), Sacramento (SMF), Minneapolis (MSP), Syracuse (SYR), Chicago’s Canine Therapy Corps (ORD & MDW), Asheville (AVL), Rhode Island (PVD), Oklahoma (OKC), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Reno-Tahoe Airport (RNO), Salt Lake City (SLC), and international airports like Vancouver (YVR), Halifax (YHZ), and Edmonton (YEG) in Canada, also offer therapy dog programs to brighten travelers’ days.

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