SFO and San Francisco SPCA Introduce the Wag Brigade

Partnership brings stress-relief therapy dogs to SFO

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., December 3, 2013 – The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced the launch of a new program, titled “Wag Brigade,” to bring trained dogs into the Airport terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable. The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA) will bring specially trained dogs to walk the terminals with their handlers to take the stress out of air travel. The dogs can be identified by vests that read “Pet Me!” and are planned to be at SFO on a daily basis.

“We are committed to creating the most enjoyable airport experience possible,” said Deputy Director Kandace Bender. “The Wag Brigade adds a new element to what travelers can look forward to at SFO.”

All participating dogs are graduates of the SF SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) training program and are required to visit SFO prior to formal acceptance into the Wag Brigade program. Dogs are evaluated for temperament and comfort with large crowds, security requirements, and the Airport environment.

"Interacting with therapy dogs has been proven to offer both physical and mental health benefits," said Dr. Jennifer Emmert, Animal Assisted Therapy Manager at the SF SPCA. "We're hoping our therapy dogs will help provide stress relief to SFO passengers during the busy holiday season and beyond."

The handlers are the dogs’ owners. All handlers have passed a 10 year background check and accompany the dogs at all times. Handlers wear identifying vests, and each attends classroom and in-terminal training to become familiar with the Airport and assist customers with general inquiries.