Those of you who have flown from Seattle to the East Coast and don’t have the benefit of flying first class know that, after a 5 hour flight, you stumble off the plane tired, hungry, dehydrated, cranky, and with a crushing headache if you sit near a crying baby.
That’s how we felt after landing at Charlotte Airport recently. But as we entered in the main terminal, our moods did a complete 180 after seeing a humongous, black and white Great Dane named Max wearing a blue vest with the words “PET ME” in large yellow letters.
Of course we immediately descended on Max and his handler for a much needed petting session before happily continuing to baggage claim.
Max is one of the dogs in a team of therapy dogs in the CLT Canine Crew that greet weary/anxious passengers in the Charlotte Airport.
Initiated last year, the program features “eight certified therapy dogs and their handlers, who will visit Charlotte’s airport between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a rotating basis.”
“These dogs are rock stars,” said interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle. “Their basic job is to welcome customers.”
All of the dogs must meet a list of criteria like:
- All members of the team are volunteers.
- Canines are at least two years old.
- Crew members visit the airport 2-3 times per month for 1-2 hours during each visit.
- Crew members are professional in-service therapy dogs registered with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Inc.
I checked the SeaTac Airport website to see if it had a Therapy Dog Program, but I didn’t find anything.