The stress-busting canines — and one cat — that greet passengers at Denver Worldwide Airport (DEN) aren’t simply cute and cuddly. They’re now formally world report titleholders.
The animals, and their handlers, are a part of DEN’s Canine Airport Remedy Squad (CATS) and this system now has a spot within the Guinness World Data 2023 e-book. The class: Largest Airport Remedy Animal Program.
In 2021, when Guinness fetched the info for this class, DEN’s CATS program had 87 animals in its animal remedy program. And that gave DEN a leg up on all different airports.
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“We’re extraordinarily happy with our CATS program and grateful for all of the volunteers who donate their time to carry pleasure to our passengers and workers,” mentioned DEN CEO Phil Washington. “And we look ahead to welcoming much more groups as we proceed to develop this beloved program.”
How did CATS clinch the title?
About 90 airports across the nation have animal remedy packages. And, in response to DEN spokeswoman Stephanie Figueroa, Guinness initially reached out to Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX), which hosts the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program.
LAX and DEN have all the time gone forwards and backwards for the biggest airport animal remedy program and at one time LAX had 123 groups within the PUP program, mentioned Heide Huebner, director of volunteers and the PUP program at LAX. “However Covid actually affected us.”
Some volunteers moved out of state. Some canines aged out or handed away. And in 2021, when Guinness was numbers, Denver had extra groups than LAX. LAX at the moment has 75 groups, 12 new groups within the onboarding course of and curiosity from others.
“I do know we can be neck and neck once more with Denver for the biggest program,” mentioned Huebner. However within the meantime, “The LAX PUPs ship an enormous congratulations to the Denver CATS program for profitable the title for largest program. It feels good that LAX was there that will help you begin your program and we’re very happy with you!”
The competitors may very well be fierce. DEN’s Figueroa says the airport is all the time engaged on rising its program with new volunteer groups and expects to have the ability to maintain onto the Largest Airport Remedy Animal Program title.
Past the itemizing in Guinness World Data 2023, Guinness gave Denver Worldwide Airport a certificates noting its world report title. Guinness would not enable these certificates to be copied, so Denver Worldwide Airport hasn’t determined but if it is going to show the unique certificates within the terminal for the general public to see. For now, although, the information of the award is on the CATS web page of the Denver Worldwide Airport web site, which additionally options images and data, resembling breed, birthdate and pet peeves of every CATS member.
Whereas it’s at the moment the biggest airport remedy animal program, Denver’s animal remedy program is not the primary. That title goes to San Jose Worldwide Airport (SJC), which started internet hosting remedy animals shortly after the occasions of Sept. 11, 2001. In the present day that program has 25 canines and two cats that go to with passengers within the terminals.
At San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO), the animal remedy program launched in 2013 and is called the Wag Brigade. Along with canines, the workforce features a pig and a rabbit.
DEN airport’s CATS program started on Oct. 29, 2015, on Nationwide Cat Day, with 28 members from 14 breeds. This system was placed on pause throughout the pandemic and has been resumed with groups donating greater than 1,250 hours of time thus far in 2022.
All CATS have to be registered with a acknowledged pet remedy affiliation, and this system at the moment consists of 84 members and 33 breeds in addition to one cat, together with their human handlers.
As with animal remedy packages elsewhere, the CATS program is designed to supply stress aid and delight passengers. In CATS terminology, every pet carrying a plaid “Pet Me” vest simply needs to make touring “rather less ruff.”
“Whether or not it is with a lick, a nuzzle or some amusing antics, our four-legged buddies have an incredible capability to make us smile — even after we may be feeling burdened or anxious,” mentioned Adam Millward, managing editor, Guinness World Data. “The Canine Airport Remedy Squad at Denver Airport have taken this innate ability and run with it. It is a pleasure to have the ability to acknowledge the hard-working canines in addition to their homeowners, who selflessly quit their time to brighten the day of 1000’s of vacationers yearly.”