Introducing Duke Ellington Morris, the newest addition to San Francisco International Airport’s Wag Brigade. Don’t be alarmed if you spot a black and white cat darting around the airport; it’s just Duke, one of the airport’s newest staff members. The Wag Brigade program, launched in 2013, aimed at providing comfort to travelers in the airport terminal through specially trained animals.
A Furry Team to the Rescue
At first, the Wag Brigade team exclusively consisted of canines. However, over time, additional animals like Alex the rabbit and LilLou the pig, who gained fame as the world’s first therapy pig, have gradually become part of the team. These animals undergo certification by San Francisco’s SPCA and complete the Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT) Program. Temperament and behavior are carefully assessed during the selection process.
Duke’s Pawsome Qualifications
Duke Ellington Morris, known as Duke, was a natural fit for the Wag Brigade due to his impressive resume as a support animal. His journey began in 2010 when he was discovered starving and ill in a feral cat colony. Fortunately, a 5-year-old girl and her mother found him at the SPCA and decided to take him home as their pet. Recognizing his special qualities, Duke became a certified therapist, assisting humans in coping with hardship, illness, and stress.
With his new role at San Francisco International Airport, Duke will bring comfort and support to travelers in need. Whether it’s a calming presence during a turbulent travel experience or a friendly furry companion, Duke is ready to make a positive impact.
Duke has even gained a bit of Instagram fame, with a profile managed by his owners. After joining the Wag Brigade, his Instagram account showcased a delightful picture of Duke donning a mock pilot uniform, accompanied by the caption “Happy is not the word…elated!”
As this furry team continues to grow and expand, travelers can take solace in the presence of these specially trained animals, bringing smiles and warmth to their airport.