A team of 28 certified therapy dogs soon will be roaming the terminal at Denver International (DEN) in an effort to relax passengers.
The Canine Airport Therapy Squad will be in the airport starting on Nov. 2. The team includes breeds such as Newfoundlands, golden retrievers, German shepherds, terriers, a Belgian Malinois, a German shorthaired pointer, a Great Pyrenees, a hound mix, a husky/shepherd mix, a Labrador retriever, an Old English sheepdog, a puggle and a St. Bernard. The dogs and their handlers will travel around the airport to interact with passengers.
“Every once in a while, we all need a little stress release, and nothing does it better than to pet or hug a friendly animal,” says Kim Day, CEO of DEN. “Just seeing a dog on a concourse should put smiles on many faces, and we are hoping our specially trained canine volunteers make it more fun to travel through Denver International Airport.”
The team will average about three visits to the airport every month. Passengers are welcome to hug, pet and take photos with any of the dogs. The dogs and their handlers can be identified by the blue plaid apparel specially designed for the program by Spyder Active Sports Inc. Each animal also has his or her own trading card that provides facts about him or her.
All of the handlers had to go through an interview process, and all of the dogs a testing process. Dogs and their handlers are trained, certified and insured by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and must go through an annual recertification. Handlers also are required to pass airport security background checks, fingerprinting and security testing before they receive an airport ID badge.