Whether you love airports or sometimes feel a little stressed when you fly, PHL airport’s growing team of therapy dogs is here to make your experience even better or soothe your nerves.
Our brigade of friendly, certified therapy dogs, known as the Wagging Tails Brigade, can often be found roaming the terminals with their handlers, donning blue “Pet Me” vests. Operating in partnership with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD), these furry friends visit the terminals for two hours each week, sharing snuggles and providing a calming environment for our passengers.
Launched in March 2019, the Wagging Tails Brigade was halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, PHL’s Director of Guest Experience, Leah Douglas, says that as travel resumes, PHL is eager to recruit new pups to join Casey, Copper, Rex, Allagash, and newcomers Gator and Gus, to help make PHL a welcoming place for travelers and employees alike.
Douglas wants anyone who is considering volunteering with the Wagging Tails Brigade to know, “Volunteers will love the airport experience. Everyday is different and filled with pleasant surprises, from meeting new people, engaging with airport employees, introducing your beloved dog to our guests, having unexpected conversations, and above all, making people happy just by having the wonderful opportunity to meet you and your dog.”
But, don't take it from us! To offer some insider insight, longtime PHL volunteer Harvey Finkel, right-hand man to fan-favorite pup, Copper, shared what makes the Wagging Tails Brigade so special.
Finkel said, “Copper seems to draw the tension, stress, and anxiety out of travelers when they interact with him. You can hear the ease in travelers' voices after they pet the dogs, and knowing your dog helped with that is something special.”
Think you and your pup have what it takes to join this tail-wagging crew? First off, all dogs must be certified
through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Once certified, handlers can visit the PHL webpage to begin the application process. After the application is accepted, prospective volunteers and their dogs will do a walkthrough of the airport to acclimate them to the environment. After a successful walk-through, the badging process begins, and you and your pup will be well on your way to joining the brigade for an unforgettable and enjoyable volunteer experience.
To learn more about the program, visit the Wagging Tails Brigade online for more information.