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Denver International Airport Doubles Size of Popular Canine Airport Therapy Squad Program, Welcomes New Recruits

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DENVER – Aug. 26, 2016 — Denver International Airport (DEN) has doubled its Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS), adding 27 new certified dogs and their volunteer handlers for a total of 53. The CATS stroll through airport concourses bringing smiles and joy to passengers in the airport.

“In just 10 months our CATS program has become an integral part of our customer experience. Every time our CATS are roaming the airport, social media lights up with passengers sharing their joy about our four-legged volunteers and others asking where they can find them,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “So, it makes great sense to expand the program to meet these increasing requests. Our CATS bring an immediate smile to the face of a stressed traveler.”

The newest members of the CATS team are made up of 20 breeds, including: Newfoundlands, German shepherds, golden retrievers, yellow labrador retrievers, terriers, an American Cocker Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, black labrador, Entlebucher Swiss Mountain Dog, golden doodle, long-hair Dachshund, Pomeranian, Pyrenese/Labrador mix, rottweiler, shepherd mix, Shitzu/Bichon mix, St. Bernard/standard poodle mix, and a standard poodle. The largest CATS member is Moose, a 160-pound Newfoundland from Denver; and the smallest is Ripley, an 11-pound Jack Russell terrier from Arvada.

The CATS and their handlers will put in a minimum of 10 hours per quarter. While the dates of visits are flexible, teams will average three visits each month and will roam the concourses delighting and comforting passengers. Passengers are encouraged to hug them, pet and even take photos with them. Each of the CATS has his or her own trading card that includes interesting facts about them including their “pet peeves.”

Members of the CATS teams are chosen after lengthy interview and testing processes. Each dog is a family pet and must be shown to have a calm, friendly demeanor in public. Dogs and their owners are trained, certified and insured by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and an annual recertification is required for both dog and owner. Each CATS team must have at least one year of therapy dog experience at another facility before service at DEN.

In addition, all CATS volunteers complete DEN customer service training and field evaluations to ensure the airport’s busy environment is a good fit for both human and dog. Human volunteers go through airport security background checks, fingerprinting, and security testing prior to receiving an airport ID badge.

The DEN CATS program is not the first airport program, but is one of the largest with 53 dogs. It’s also among the most fashion-forward programs, with the best dressed therapy pups at any airport in the world. They can be found wearing easily recognizable, blue plaid apparel custom designed by Spyder Active Sports Inc., a Colorado company that has become one of the largest ski-specialty brands in the world.


Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!