John Wayne Airport continually works to create an accessible and friendly space for everyone – including adorably excited puppies that are training to become guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired.
On May 19, John Wayne Airport hosted five special visitors from Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), along with their puppy raisers from the Brea Area Adult Raisers Klub (BAARK). The purpose of their visit was to familiarize the pups with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening process for service dogs.
Each puppy had the opportunity to walk through the Magnetometer escorted by their puppy raiser and then walk through again by themselves. They ended their TSA checkpoint visit with a pat-down, which was similar to being pet, if we had to measure that based on the puppies’ reactions.
After passing the screening process, the puppies and their puppy raisers went to baggage claim to accustom themselves to the sights and sounds of the rotating baggage carousel, the jostling crowds and the luggage moving around them. One of the primary goals for these “pawfectly” wonderful puppies is exposure to a multitude of experiences before they attend more formal Guide Dog Training.
In more than 20 years, BAARK has worked with over 100 puppies with the goal of raising healthy, happy and loving puppies to become GDBs. Puppy raisers are responsible for teaching puppies good manners and providing socialization experiences for the first year of the pups’ lives. Clubs like BAARK meet to share ideas on information, work on training techniques and participate in outings. The puppies go to their formal training with GDB when they are between 15 – 17 months old.
The checkpoint training is also an opportunity for TSA officers to review procedures for screening service animals, and John Wayne Airport appreciates the “above and beyond” efforts of our TSA partners to ensure all of our guests have a smooth travel experience. To learn about the security procedures and processes for persons with a disability or medical condition, please visit www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures.