Passengers traveling through Los Angeles International Airport later this month may receive a welcome from a new kind of airport greeter — dogs.
During National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, airport officials will introduce the new PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) program at LAX. As one of the few programs of its kind in the United States, the LAX PUPs program is intended to provide a less stressful airport environment for the traveling public.
“We are pleased to launch the PUP program in honor of National Volunteer Week,” said Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. “It’s a great opportunity to spread happiness to millions of travelers from all over the world. Expect to see the PUPs on a regular basis in terminals at LAX.”
Various trained dogs and handlers, on rotating schedules, will roam through the gate areas on the departure level of each terminal. The pets will visit with passengers awaiting flights, providing comfort, and handlers will offer airport information.
Each volunteer underwent classroom and in-terminal training to learn about LAX and how to assist passengers. The dog and handler teams will be equipped with a trading card featuring the dog’s vital statistics and airport improvements information.
“It is our pleasure in partnering with Los Angeles World Airports to spread happiness to millions of people from all over the world every day at an exciting new venue for our organization,” said Executive Director for Therapy Dogs Inc. Billie Smith.
All PUP volunteers and dogs are registered with Therapy Dogs Inc., which works to regulate, test and register therapy dogs and their handlers for the purpose of providing comfort and stress relief at facilities such as hospitals, schools, senior homes and other institutions.