Animal programs

Denver just snagged the record for the world’s largest airport animal therapy program from LAX. Find out how his team of dogs entertains the passengers.

Dogs were in high demand this summer.Denver International Airport

  • Denver International Airport is home to the largest airport pet therapy program in the world.

  • There are approximately 45 programs at US airports, with LAX being Denver’s biggest competitor.

  • Volunteer manager Karla Grahn told Insider the dogs were in demand during the summer travel chaos.

In September, Denver International Airport won the Guinness World Record for largest airport animal therapy program, snatching the title from LAX.

Although the record is very specific, Denver had to beat around 45 competitors for the original title which sees dogs roaming the airport hallways.

The program, which has been running for eight years, will appear in the 2023 version of the record books.

Take a look at some of the dogs and a cat roaming the Denver airport.

The Canine Airport Therapy Squad, counterintuitively named CATS, took the throne for LAX’s largest airport program this year.

The Canine Airport Therapy Squad, counterintuitively named CATS, took the throne for LAX's largest airport program this year.

Denver International Airport

The 85 teams, each consisting of a therapy dog ​​and its owner, travel around the airport in two-hour blocks.

The 85 teams, each consisting of a therapy dog ​​and its owner, travel around the airport in two-hour blocks.

Denver International Airport

But the numbers are down from the pre-COVID peak of 120. Program coordinator Karla Grahn said they were trying to hit 200.

But the numbers are down from the pre-COVID peak of 120. Program coordinator Karla Grahn said they are trying to get back to it.

Denver International Airport

Therapy dogs provide traveling emotional support to travelers, rather than focusing on a specific group.

Therapy dogs provide traveling emotional support to travelers, rather than focusing on a specific group.

Denver International Airport

The dogs include many recovered rescue animals that came from an environment of abuse and malnutrition, but were nursed back to health before joining the program.

A rescue recovered from Denver International Airport in 2022.

A rescue recovered from Denver International Airport in 2022.Denver International Airport

There are also award-winning show dogs, including Dalmatians and Newfoundlands.

There are also award winning show dogs including Dalmations and Newfoundlands.

Dogs were in high demand this summer.Denver International Airport

Grahn says they start in the main terminal and then tend to go to a gate that has a delayed flight.

Grahn says they start in the male terminal, then can pick a gate with a delayed flight to get to.

Denver International Airport

But there is also a resident feline in the CATS program. Her name is Sally.

But there is also a resident feline in the CATS program.  Her name is Sally.

Denver International Airport

During a summer of unprecedented travel chaos, Grahn said the dogs had become even more prominent, standing next to queues and rushing through the airport as several flights were delayed or canceled. .

During a summer of unprecedented travel chaos, TK said the dogs were in increasing demand.

Denver International Airport

Although, like most other professions in the aviation sector, there is a post-COVID shortage, with only one team at the airport on some days.

They are proving very popular with children at the airport

Denver International Airport

While Grahn says the dogs are extremely popular, she says some passengers don’t want to interact with them.

But passengers aren't always eager to entertain the dogs

Denver International Airport

“There are people who are definitely not dogs or are afraid of dogs, and our teams are very respectful of that,” Grahn said.

Denver International Airport

Grahn said the dogs are most popular with children, whose “eyes light up” when they see them.

Denver International Airport

“Animals are fantastic. They don’t judge you. You can be whatever you need in that moment and they’re there to support you,” Grahn said.

“The animals are fantastic.  They don't judge you.  You can be what you need in that moment and they are there to support you,” she said.

Denver International Airport

Read the original article on Business Insider