Photos courtesy Virgin America
Few things tug at the heartstrings like animals in need, and San Francisco, California-based Virgin America has tapped into our animal empathy to help orphaned Chihuahuas find new homes in time for the holidays.
This past Monday, dozens of Chihuahuas were flown on Virgin America from adoption centers in San Francisco to their new homes in Newark. On their departure, the pups received a true red carpet welcome, and were given doggie treats and carry-on toys for their flight. The dogs enjoyed the comfort and spaciousness of the main passenger cabin. In addition, Virgin America offered a promo code TINYFARES on their website, which gave $10 of every sale to their shelter partners: which include San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the ASPCA, and Animal Haven.
“We’re thrilled to again help out our friends and neighbors at the SF ACC, who work so hard to take care of animals in need,” said Abby Lunardini, vice president of brand marketing and communications at Virgin America. “This is always a fun day for our Teammates – who volunteer to fly over a 24-hour period as traveling companions in order to get these pups to their forever homes on the East Coast. Many of our Teammates – including myself, as well as our flyers are passionate animal lovers, and it is heartwarming to see so many come together to support the important and under-funded work the SF ACC is doing. We’re proud to be a small part of that.”
Virgin America has been flying dogs to new homes on the east coast since 2010, and has flown over 100 Chihuahuas to new homes since the start of the program. Airline employees worked as volunteers to host the Chihuahuas on their flight to Newark.
“It is great to partner once again with Virgin America to help these animals find loving and caring homes on the East Coast – and to help drive much-needed donations for our animal welfare programs,” said Virginia Donohue, Director of the City of San Francisco Animal Care & Control. “With California having a major overpopulation of Chihuahuas, this partnership has continued to help us in our mission to find families for these animals in need. While these lucky dogs are on their way to be adopted on the East Coast – Bay Area residents interested in adopting a pet can also make tails wag by visiting their local shelter today.”
San Francisco International Airport also has a team of animal ambassadors who will be out and active during the holiday travel season. The popular “Wag Brigade” program, in partnership with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) where dogs certified through the SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program help make stressful holiday travel more enjoyable for travelers by roaming the terminals wearing vests that read, “Pet Me!”
Animals have been proven over and over to have a therapeutic effect on stress reduction, so if you see an airport-hosted animal during the holidays, stop and give them some love, because it will benefit you as well.