When pigs fly? Not this little piggy. She’s LiLou the Therapy Pig and its her job to greet stressful travelers and make them feel better as they move through San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
LiLou, a small, spotted Juliana pig who turns two on Dec. 15, recently joined the Wag Brigade, made up of about two dozen therapy dogs (plus one pig), that roam the airport relieving travelers of the stress of flying.
She is the first pig to be certified in the Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She is also the first non-canine member of the Wag Brigade. She has several costumes inviting travelers to pet her, and, apparently, she has several tricks up her costume sleeves. She can greet with her snout or a wave, stand up on her little pig-feet and play a toy piano. She even takes a bow at the end of her performance.
SFO joined a number of airports throughout the country in December 2013 where handlers walk trained therapy dogs greeting passengers and reducing the stress of travel.
The idea of airport wag brigades came about shortly after 9/11 in the hopes of relieving travelers of their fears and stress of flying. It worked. The number of airports using therapy dogs is growing.
LiLou isn’t the only non-canine therapy animal. According to USA Today, miniature therapy horses have been making regular visits to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport since last May.