PUPs Project

Pets Unstressing Passengers - Los Angeles International Airport



On an Italian December evening, while visiting my parents, I was browsing the LA Times to keep up with my second home's news and stumbled upon this article talking about the number (and importance) of therapy dogs growing in airports and for the first time heard of the PUPs program: Pets Unstressing Passengers. What?? How did I not know about the existence of this? I don't travel as much as I'd like to but I've done my rounds at LAX over the last 5 years - how long the program has been around - and never noticed any of the 80+ (numbers vary with availability and life cycles of these furry emotional saviors), any size (from Chihuahua to Wolfhound and all the way in between), red vested therapy dogs that welcome, wave off, or simply sit by passengers in transit at all terminals. 

I immediately reached out to Heidi, director of the program and the luckiest city employee (I know she agrees with me), in the hope to go and snap some pictures of the dogs in action - I have always wanted to do a series about working dogs and thought this would be the perfect way to start. Thankfully she agreed with me and, together, we embarked on a few months of portrait sessions, intermitted with action shots.

The project is still ongoing and there are a few ideas I'm playing with, upon seeing the results, but I wanted to start sharing some of the shots and stories (click on each picture) behind the dogs. And their wonderful owners/handlers/friends. Stay tuned for more!