As traveling can create stress and anxieties at airports, the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program is an opportunity to provide an overall enhanced customer experience, providing stress relief and comfort to passengers through interaction with pets.
Therapy dogs and handlers roam the departures levels in the gate areas of each terminal, visiting passengers awaiting flights and providing comfort, as well as airport information. The program educates and informs passengers about the LAX projects and construction related traffic impacts.
The dogs and handlers in red vests with the PUP logo, are an excellent addition to the customer service team. Passengers love seeing warm, wet noses and wagging tails that create a friendly, “PAWSitive” experience at LAX!
Certification and Training
PUP volunteers wishing to apply must have at least one year experience working with a recognized dog therapy organization. The dogs must be privately owned and be at least two years old. All PUP volunteers and dogs must be registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. (TD, Inc.), a national organization that registers, insures and supports members who are involved in volunteer animal-assisted activities. These activities include visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, nursing homes and for the first time for TD, Inc. - airports.
Each volunteer goes through LAX classroom and in-terminal training to learn about LAX and how to assist passengers. They also complete a walk-through with their dog to make sure there is a good fit for both volunteer and dog. In addition, handlers are fingerprinted and badged.
Roles of PUP Handlers
- Relieve passenger stress and anxiety
- Inform and assist passengers with questions and wayfinding
- Promote the PUP program and LAX projects by handing out trading cards featuring the PUPs and airport highlights
Hours of Operation
Each dog and handler works one weekly shift of one to two hours at one assigned terminal.
The PUP program provides great promotional opportunities including media events, local events and seasonal photo opportunities.
Heidi Huebner, Director of PUP Program, at (424) 646-8471 or [email protected].