Some people find flying worrisome and stressful. No amount of relaxation could get you through the anxiety of being stuck inside a plane for hours while moving several thousand feet up in the air. There is also the stress of dealing with potential delayed or canceled flights that could ruin a person’s schedule.
To ease the pain and stress of air travel, San Francisco airport officials came up with a plan to help their passengers relax and remain calm. The San Francisco SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), together with the San Francisco International Airport, started a program called “The Wag Brigade.” The Wag Brigade consists of 22 adorable dogs and one precocious pig named LiLou.
These dogs are all certified therapy dogs, coming from the Animal Assisted Therapy Program. They walk around randomly, helping passengers and airport staff maintain an upbeat mood. Since 2013, these dogs have been roaming the halls of the San Francisco International Airport and providing the necessary pick-me-up for anyone who needs it.
Just like any other employee, the Wag Brigade animals have their work schedule. After their shift, they go home with their handlers. Some of these dogs even work extra hours in other locations, such as hospitals or nursing homes.
So far, airport guests have reacted positively to the therapy program. The minute the animals step in, all eyes are on them. People loved interacting with the Wag Brigade animals, and their presence brings a smile to everyone’s face.
Being in the presence of animals has been known to help reduce anxiety and stress. The simple act of petting or hugging a dog increases the levels of oxytocin, a hormone that causes us to feel happy. Even science gives its stamp of approval on the Wag Brigade!
Photos courtesy of SFO Wag Brigade via Instagram