CATS Tales

As the DEN CATS go about their work of delighting travelers, they often have the opportunity to provide an extra dose of joy and comfort. Read about some of these special encounters, as seen through the eyes of these furry volunteers.

Annie
Terrier

It was a slow day on B Gates, so my owner took me down to the busier United Express area. An elderly gentleman pointed to the empty seat next to him and gave my owner the “sit” command. As the man patted my head, he told us he had just returned from the Freedom Flight to Washington, D.C. His daughter had traveled with him, but her flight home had already left. As we waited with him, the man told us that he joined the army after high school during the Korean War because it was the patriotic thing to do. He kept me really close to him while he talked about his training, the long ship ride and the fear he felt arriving in Korea. I think it made the man happy to share his story, and I enjoyed listening!

Leni
Bermese Mountain Dog

The day I heard “CATS dog stop!” while on duty on A Gates, I immediately looked around for signs of a feline. Then I remembered that “CATS” was the abbreviation for my squad. A young woman ran toward me and told my owner that she had always wanted to visit with a CAT at DEN. She said she was afraid of flying and could use some furry therapy, so I went right to work. My new friend sat on the floor next to me and gave me the best belly rub. We stayed together until she was ready to board her flight. Before she left, she took a selfie with me and said my friendly snuggles were exactly what she needed. Then she asked for several of my trading cards to share with her friends. I love my job!

Martha
Labrador

One day while on volunteer duty on B Gates, I heard, “Hey Ms. Therapy Dog…..I need you!” As my owner turned me around, we saw a young man in that “Colorado guy uniform”—jeans and baseball cap on backwards—the breed of guy who likes to play Frisbee. I noticed his eyes were red and almost as wet as my nose. As we walked together, my owner let him talk first. “I’ve got a broken heart. I need some therapy.” (With the sad ones, my owner knows it’s best to let me take over.) As we sat together, the man started to cry. “I just flew here and said good bye to my best friend of 20 years. I held his hand as he died.” The young man buried his face into my fur and we stayed just like that until he felt better. He left with a bit of a smile, which made it a very good day at the airport!

Ruger
Shepherd

I’ll never forget my first day as a CATS volunteer. I came across a dad doing his best to herd triplet toddler boys while his wife was in the boarding line with two older kids (yes, they had an ENTIRE litter). The dad wasn’t having much luck. Two of the boys were charging off in different directions and the third was having a meltdown. Time to go to work! My owner led me over to the group. The crying boy quickly stopped and his brothers came over to pet me. The two older children came over to snuggle with me, too. Pretty soon I sensed the dad relax and the other passengers in the area seemed to relax, too. It was a great way to start my volunteer work as a DEN CATS member!

Samson
Labrador

I’ve heard some people say that those people with the uniforms that say “TSA” can be intimidating. As a DEN CATS member, I’ve seen their “human” side and they are as friendly as the next person. When I see the TSA people at the gates or on the train, they always kneel down to pet or hug me. They talk about their own dogs and I can tell they are good dog parents. They always ask for my trading cards, which makes me blush a little and wag a lot. I’m happy that, when other travelers see how nice the TSA folks are to me, they get to see a different side of these important people who help keep us all safe at DEN.