Publicly Available Therapy Animals in Airports

I came across something new while traveling through the Denver Airport the other day. A cat in the middle of Denver International Airport with a uniformed guide helping people the pet the little bundle of fur. It was like a publicly available therapy animal that was there just to serve the airport and any stressed, grumpy passengers who needed a mood boost, presumably because their flight was delayed. Or maybe because they had to unexpectedly surrender an item of some value while going through TSA security…(I’ve had that happen before. I definitely could have used a tiny, adorable kitten to pet and make me feel better on that day.)

 

I did end up looking up the program after the fact. Apparently, it’s been around for just a little over a year, but it’s been primarily a dog therapy animal until recently in which the airport has also introduced a cat. Which is ironic, or just confusing, in that the program is called Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS). I hope the strategy is never to, like, descend upon gates with dozens of frustrated passengers with a mixed group of kittens and puppies thrust into people’s faces into some sort of coerced calm. I assume the random number of people with severe pet allergies would prohibit this behavior at least.

 

When I saw this kitten-sized cat, I immediately thought of this site because while I’ve been Traveling with Pets, I’ve never seen….working animals for the travel industry?…I’m not even sure how to describe it. Animal-based airport therapy squad, I guess. But I also thought about what I would have done if I had had my pet with me, which I didn’t on this particular trip. But if I had, I would have surely steered clear, not because Tiki isn’t good around other animals—but because going through the airport is not a normal environment. Plus, it’s against the rules. Or at least it’s supposed to be.

Anyway, I wanted to give this site an update from the road, or the terminal rather. If there’s a takeaway, it’s that even when you’re not traveling with pets, you’re still traveling with pets.

 

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