Dogs will help travelers de-stress at Charlotte airport

The CLT Canine Crew meets travelers

The CLT Canine Crew meets travelers passing through Charlotte Douglas International Airport
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The CLT Canine Crew meets travelers passing through Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Charlotte Douglas International Airport travelers have a new way to calm down, with furry volunteers.

The CLT Canine Crew program, now roaming the terminal, features eight certified therapy dogs and their handlers, who will visit Charlotte’s airport 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on a rotating basis. The dogs wear blue and yellow “Pet Me” vests, and they’re all non-barkers.

“These dogs are rock stars,” said interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle. “Their basic job is to welcome customers.”

Passengers didn’t need any prompting to stop and pet the dogs as they walked by Monday. A girl leaned out of her stroller and petted Lucy, a West Highland White Terrier, and a Transportation Security Administration agent stopped by to give Rosco, an American Foxhound, a pat on the head as they milled in front of Checkpoint E.

Some of the dogs are rescue animals. Sweetpea is a retired racing Greyhound, while Rosco was found wandering loose when he was a year old. The dogs also spend time providing therapy in other places: Lucy regularly visits an Alzheimer’s care facility, while Rosco spends time at homes for troubled teenagers and nursing homes.

Cagle said there is no cost to the airport. The volunteers handling the dogs will also be able to help travelers with directions to get around the airport. He said Charlotte Douglas is the 28th airport in the U.S. to have such a program.

Other dogs in the program include Tucker, an Old Australian Labradoodle; Winston Churchill, a Yorkshire Terrier; Ellie, a Greyhound; Kitty, an Australian Cattle Dog and Li’l Rocky Balboa, a Brussels Griffon.

This isn’t the airport’s first feature that helps calm stressed-out travelers. Rocking chairs came to the airport in 1997 as part of an art exhibit and remained as a signature amenity. Several other airports have added rockers to their terminals as well.

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