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SAN’s best friend

Meet the airport’s top dogs

Friday, January 15, 2021

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To keep our human volunteers safe during the pandemic, we temporarily suspended our pet therapy program, and recently brought back a small group on a limited basis. If you’re like us, you’re wondering what the dogs have been up to during their hiatus. To find out, we did a Q&A with two of our top dogs – Ollie and Willow – and their dedicated human companions.

Ollie – loves naps and his new backyard

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Ollie’s human companion, Brenna, has always loved the exciting energy at the airport. When she spotted some airport therapy dogs on Instagram, she knew she and Ollie had to get in on the action. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Ready, Pet, GO volunteer?

A: I love that we get to interact with a variety of people, including kids, military, airport and airline employees, and people who are away from home and missing their own pets. It’s also a great opportunity to be a breed ambassador for pit bulls!

Q: What has Ollie been doing during his time off from the airport?

A: So many naps! He was used to doing two-three therapy visits per week and when it all suddenly stopped he was pretty sad. But, like all of us he adjusted to being at home and settled into a new routine. We used the time to renovate the backyard, so now he has his very own dog park right at home!

Q: What’s it like being back at the airport with Ollie?

A: It’s been great! The reception has been positive, the employees are especially happy to see us again, and the TSA always gives us lots of love.

Willow – loves swimming pools and all the kiddos

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Amber, Willow’s human companion, became interested in therapy dog work when her son was in the burn unit at UCSD after stepping on buried hot coals at a beach. The therapy dog came around each day to comfort her son.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Ready, Pet, GO volunteer?

A: The best part is when someone tells me that this is just what they needed. Willow is wonderful with everyone but she gets very excited when she sees a child. She immediately lies down on the floor. It’s like she knows she should be at their level, and she thinks nothing of getting her eyes poked or her tail pulled. She’s just happy to be there.

Q: What has Willow been doing during her time off from the airport?

A: Willow decided she needed to swim - every day. We put up gates around the pool, but she knows how to sneak in. She stands on the pool steps barking at me, because she doesn’t know how to get back out. Fortunately, she is smart enough not to go in when I am not home.

Q: What’s it like being back at the airport with Willow?

A: Willow is so happy to be back. We recently met a woman who was traveling home after the death of her son. She sat on the airport floor and hugged Willow and Daisy (another therapy dog) and told us that it was just what she needed to feel better. I think having the dogs there gives people hope that things will get better.

We love all of our incredible Ready, Pet, GO volunteers and can’t wait to have the full team back in the airport.

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