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Wag Brigade

Dogs can be seen at many airports. Usually you see them searching for fresh fruit, or drugs, or bombs, etc. Many passengers do not like that, but sometimes they are very pleased when they see a dog.

At several airports across the USA - including Buffalo, NY, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, San Jose - you can meet certified therapy dogs in the terminals, sometimes called the Wag Brigade.

After travelers endure scrutiny at security check points, undergo body scans or pat downs and surrender unlocked luggage to unseen inspectors who may ransack unmentionables, therapy dogs help them relax.

Each airport uses its own program title, but Los Angeles International Airport found the best name: the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program. With their owners, the pups trot through the airport wearing "Please pet me" scarves.

Any breed can be a therapy dog. Other animals can also take part in the program, like cats, birds and rabbits. But at the airport, dogs seem to be the preferred pet.

When passengers see a therapy dog with a pet me scarf, they start smiling and their stress levels drop.

Each therapy dog has to meet certain criteria: mellow, calm in crowds, well trained, and without the slightest aggression toward people or other dogs.

They are not required to have an email address, but Casey - a golden retriever who has her own page on Miami-Dade Aviation's website - does accept emails at Casey@miami-airport.com.

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