Los Angeles World Airports celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) program at LAX with a pup parade and giveaways for departing passengers on Wednesday.
The LAX PUPs program began in April 2013 with 30 therapy dogs as an effort to “enhance the passenger experience” at LAX. As of 2023, the program has grown to 80 canines and volunteer handlers.
Wednesday’s festivities took place in Terminal 1 of LAX in partnership with Southwest Airlines, whose representatives helped distribute commemorative giveaways for passengers.
More than a dozen dogs were paraded down a red carpet with their handlers who stopped for photos and interviews by the “pup-parazzi.”
The dogs do have a calming effect on passengers near and far; LAX’s PUPs program has served as a model for more than 90 airports across the world that have started a similar program.
“The LAX PUPs are wonderful ambassadors for our airport as each year they welcome millions of guests and help ease the travel experience with their calm and friendly demeanor,” said Los Angeles World Airports Chief of Operations and Maintenance Michael Christensen. “We are proud of the program’s legacy and influence on similar airport therapy dog programs, and we thank all of the dogs and handlers who have volunteered over the years to make this program a success.”
Dogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome to apply to join the PUPs program as long as the animals and handlers meet the program’s requirements, which includes serving at least one year with a recognized pet therapy organization.
All the dogs are privately owned, and the majority came from local shelters or rescue groups.
For more information on the PUPs program, including a volunteer application, click here.