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Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at 9:09 AM - For Immediate Release

New Customer Service Amenity Enhances PAW-sitive Travel Experience at SMF

SACRAMENTO – Sacramento International Airport is adding a new customer service amenity that comes with a wagging tail and a wet nose. Starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, certified pet therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers begin twice-weekly visits to the airport, roaming the terminals to make the travel experience even more enjoyable.

The new program, named the Boarding Area Relaxation Corps. (B.A.R.C) is a partnership between the airport and Sacramento nonprofit Lend a Heart Lend a Hand. The agency provides dogs whose temperament makes them suitable for the noisy, crowded environs of an airport.

Lend a Heart ensures that dogs have undergone obedience training, are spayed or neutered, and are up-to-date on vaccinations. They evaluate the handlers and their dogs before certifying them as animal-assisted therapy animals. Dogs are required to be cleaned and groomed prior to visiting.

The B.A.R.C program is aimed at reducing stress and adding to the enjoyment of passengers. Visitors will recognize B.A.R.C canines because they will wear navy blue vests that say “PET ME”. Handlers will also wear navy blue vests.

“We are continually looking for ways to improve the customer service experience here and pet visitation programs have been very successful at other airports,” said Director of Airports John Wheat.

Handlers are scheduled to visit the terminals twice a week for two hours. If the program is successful, additional shifts may be added.

Dog owners who would like to become part of the B.A.R.C at Sacramento International Airport should email Lend a Heart.

Sacramento County Airport System, a department of Sacramento County, is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining four of the County’s airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. The Airport System provides more than $4 billion in annual economic impact to the Sacramento region. For more information, visit sacramento.aero.