Animals

Vote for TSA’s Cutest Canine

Here’s something cute and furry for a Friday.

National Dog Day is coming up on August 26. And in preparation for that holiday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is having a contest to pick the cutest canine from its roster of more than 1000 dogs trained to sniff out explosives.

Four furry finalists were in the running, chosen from those nominated by their handlers.

To narrow it down to a winner, the first match-up took place on Wednesday, August 19 between two of the finalists.

And it looks like Kajila from Honolulu’s Daniel Inouye International Airport (HNL) won that round.

On Thursday, August 20, the public was asked to pick their favorite between pup Lexa-Alexey from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Ron, who works at Oakland International Airport (OAK).

Voting in this second round ends early Friday morning.

On Friday, August 21, the winners of the first two rounds will go head to head, with the overall winner to be announced on August 26, National Dog Day.

You can vote on TSA’s InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

TSA’s explosives detection canines have serious job descriptions.

They’re tasked with screening passengers, cargo, mass-transit, and maritime systems, and they support other security missions. Each dog is specially trained and paired with a TSA handler.

If you see these dogs at the airport, you may want to pet them.

Don’t do that.

TSA says that “While TSA canines are sociable, they are working dogs and they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.”

Reno-Tahoe Airport has cute anti-virus pup protocol

Worried about catching germs at airports?

We are too. But airports around the world are going all out to keep travelers and germs apart during this scary coronavirus time.

But for those worried about germs that may be spread by petting those stress-busting therapy pups, Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) has some good news.

In addition to all the COVID-19 precautions they are taking, Reno-Tahoe Airport is also sanitizing the pups on the Paws 4 Passengers team after each ‘use.’

So go ahead. If you’re traveling you can safely pet those pups. RNO is operating with safe pup-cleaning-protocol.

And we suspect other airports are doing this too.

Know about other creative ways airports are keeping you germ free? Let us know!

Remember the emotional-support chicken?

Last year about this time, there was quite a stir about airlines tightening up their rules about the definition of emotional support animals.

Delta Air Lines got the ball rolling by issuing a new policy banning service and support animals under four months of age regardless of flight length. The new policy also banned emotional support animals of any age on flights longer than eight hours.

Other airlines followed Delta’s lead.

Then, right as the Christmas travel rush kicks, Popeye’s at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) shares news of a meal on its menu being served in a chicken-shaped box.

The box was labeled as an “emotional support chicken.”

The cocky campaign was a nod to news stories about the wide variety of animals, including peacocks, pigs, monkeys and spiders that try to take onboard for free.

 “We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” said Hope Diaz, CMO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, “The good news is that our emotional support chicken is permitted to fly without any restrictions – one less worry for busy travelers!”

Should they bring that emotional support chicken (in a box) back?

Airports show off their dogs

Airports around the country celebrated National Dog Day (August 26) with announcements of new pet therapy programs and celebrations of their working pups.

Let me know which airport pup tweets we missed and we’ll try to add them in!

Tampa Int’l latest airport to tighten leash on pets

Last year, Portland International Airport and several other airports followed the lead of airlines in tightening the leash on what consitutes an ’emotional support’ animal and the expected and acceptable behavior of pets in the terminals.

The move came in response to increase incidents of aggressive pets and, in some cases, of pets biting and attacking passengers and employees in airports.

Now Tampa International Airport (TPA), which last May was in the news when a dog traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies in the terminal, has joined the herd in stepping up its enforcement of restricting non-service animals at the airport.

The aim of TPA’s new policy is reducing injuries to pets and people as well as enhancing cleanliness and sanitation at the airport.

Starting this week, TPA will begin educating pet owners about the airport policy which, it notes, has been in place for decades but loosely enforced.

The policy states that traveling non-service animals (i.e. pets) must be properly confined in a pet carrier or controlled on a leash when they are in the airport.

In addition, pets that are not traveling, such as those greeting arriving passengers in the Main Terminal, are not allowed at TPA.

At the end of March, pet owners who are not following the rules will receive warnings and there could be citations for non-compliant guests.

LIke other airport, TPA is experiencing record passenger growth and a record numbers of animals in the terminals. And TPA paramedics, police and maintenance staff are responding to an increased number of injuries to people and pets and cleaning up hundreds of pet ‘accidents.’

TPA’s policy enforcement was endorsed by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which says the policy is a necessary measure to reduce animal incidents such as paw injuries on escalators.

What do you think of this trend? Do you bring your pet to the airport? Have you seen witnessed pets misbehaving at airports?

A pet traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies last year at Tampa International Airport.