Last May, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced that the Wag Brigade, the Airport’s team of certified stress-relief animals, has a new member: Duke the Cat.
Duke was rescued from the streets of San Francisco and certified by the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program. Duke Ellington Morris was discovered starving in a San Francisco feral cat colony. After a short stint at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Duke spotted a young human that he decided was his ticket to a better life.
Purrlease welcome our newest Wag Brigade member, Duke Ellington Morris.San Francisco Airport
According to SFO airport, Duke immediately took to his new family, and it quickly became clear to his new guardians that this was a special cat. Since then, Duke has been certified as an animal therapist, helping humans of all ages deal with stress, illness, hardship, and putting smiles on their faces when they need it most.
Launched in December 2013, the SFO “Wag Brigade” brings trained animals to the terminals to make passenger travel more enjoyable. In the past the program used to be limited to dogs. Over time, however, it has been expanded to include other specially trained animals including cats, rabbits and, as reported by The Independent, the “world’s first therapy pig” named LilLou. Animals are selected for their temperament and behavior.
The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program. Prior to returning to SFO, the SF SPCA re-certified all participating animals. The Wag Brigade returned to SFO in October 2021 after a 20-month absence due to the pandemic.
The Cincinnati/Northern Ohio Airport introduced in 2017 therapy miniature horses, as reported by The Independent. The goal was to calm down travelers who experienced stress while traveling. Twice a month, two therapy horses visit the check-in area of the airport. The horses come from the Seven Oaks Farm in Ohio.