for ADI member schools free of charge to anywhere U.S. Airways or its subsidiaries fly.
With more than 1,700 graduate teams scattered throughout North America, The Seeing Eye often sends an instructor – sometimes on short notice – to pick up a dog for refresher training or to deliver a dog for at-home training. Not only does this involve mounting travel expenses, but it takes an instructor away from time spent training his or her own string of dogs.
A specially trained member of U.S. Air’s “Do Crew”, a volunteer corps made up of airline personnel, will accompany the dog in the passenger cabin from one airport to the next. The dogs will not be in harness but will wear specially designed jackets identifying them as service animals in transit.
ADI member schools completed training sessions with the volunteers in the air carrier’s three hub cities: Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix. The Seeing Eye, in partnership with other service animal training organizations, conducted the sessions in Philadelphia and Charlotte.
Programs Department staff members Peggy Gibbon, Peggy Schultz, Sue Aber and Will Henry, along with Seeing Eye dogs-in-training, gave hands-on demonstrations for the proper placement of dogs on aircraft and on passing through airport security. “We set up conference chairs in the configuration of airplane seat rows and had them slide the dogs under the chairs,” explained Gibbon. “The volunteers were so enthusiastic about the whole thing. We had everyone from pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and gate agents. U.S. Air’s willingness to do this is a wonderful thing.”
Illustration: A dog is seated in an airplane seat. The tray table is down and holds a bowl of dog food and a bone. The dog is waving good-bye. Illustration by Lynn Nelson.
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