American Airlines loves our high-flying pups

Sep 26, 2018

American Airlines launches emBark, a first-of-its-kind program at Sydney International Airport highlighting the life-transforming impact of our Assistance Dogs Australia. In an Australian first, travellers are able to experience a small dose of the life-transforming effect of our Assistance Dogs twice weekly, while checking in for their flights.

“American’s team at Sydney International Airport has seen first-hand the smiles, relief and confidence emBark can give our customers while they check in for their flights,” says Russ Fortson, American’s Managing Director – Asia Pacific. “Each Tuesday and Thursday that the emBark program runs, the atmosphere at check-in is noticeably lighter and more relaxed. If these inspiring dogs can accomplish this during short interactions with our customers, imagine the positive impact they can have on the daily lives of the people who need them.”

Pictures, cuddles and pats are all welcome. American hopes customers’ interactions with our incredible dogs will inspire them to support our work and the services we provide to Australians with physical disabilities, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Autism.

“Our remarkable Assistance Dogs provide improved health, confidence and independence to individuals who need them,” says Richard Lord, Chief Executive Officer of Assistance Dogs Australia. “While we provide these Assistance Dogs and support services free-of-charge, each dog takes two years and more than $35,000 to become fully qualified, trained and placed. By collaborating with American Airlines to create emBark, we hope some travellers will be moved to support our work.”

American has supported Assistance Dogs International (of which we are an affiliate), with its Puppies in Flight program since 1999.

“We were proud to work with the American team as they developed and brought emBark to life to better serve their customers and community,” says Geoff Culbert, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Airport. “emBark certainly creates a memorable check-in experience. We hope it will inspire more people to give to Assistance Dogs Australia, a worthy organization that is doing some incredible work.”

One day, these pups might fly in a plane with a future client, but for now they’re keeping their paws firmly on terra firma.

Each Assistance Dog costs over $35,000 to train

This includes everything from purchasing a puppy to food, vaccinations, training and placement. Assistance Dogs are provided free of charge to people in need.

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