Travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport have the chance to calm down with furry new volunteers: The CLT Canine Crew is now roaming the terminal.
The new program features eight certified therapy dogs and their handlers, who will visit Charlotte’s airport between 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 TSA agent stopped by to give Rosco, an American Foxhound, a pat on the head as they milled in front of Checkpoint E.
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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 visits homes for troubled teenagers and nursing homes.
Cagle said there is no cost to the airport for the program. 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.