After the Las Vegas shooting, LAX is staffing extra therapy dogs for passengers

After the worst mass shooting in modern American history, LAX is stepping up its comfort game.
Since April of 2013, the airport’s PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) program has brought in volunteer dogs to hang around the terminals to comfort stressed-out passengers.

On Monday, four additional dogs showed up to help out travelers who are extra distraught following the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.

The extra dogs joined 7 others who were already working Monday, after founder program director of PUP Heidi Huebner put out a call for more pups.


There is a total of 72 dogs in the program, all rescues and all with loving homes, that take turns roaming the terminals with their handlers wearing red vests that say “pet me.”

“When an event anywhere happens, people are kind of on edge wherever they are,” said Pier Ali, a volunteer administrator at LAX. “To have our pups here  to bring some calm and to switch off the anxiety is very helpful.”

Huebner said though the dogs she was with didn’t encounter any travelers returning from Las Vegas, the pups were a big help.

“It was touching hearing passengers in terminals wanting to send well wishes to people in Vegas,” Huebner said. “The dogs just bring out kindness in people while they’re always giving kindness this is an opportunity for people to share their thoughts.”

Dog lovers were excited about the extra PUP presence and shared their thanks on Twitter.

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