If you happen to hear lots of giggles from enthusiastic passengers and curious kids at the San Francisco International Airport, LiLou, the world’s first airport therapy pig, might be in your presence. In a bustling and stressful day at the airport, you might bump into a Juliana pig wearing a pilot’s hat and a gleaming red polish on her hooves.
LiLou is the newest member of the San Francisco International Airport’s “Wag Brigade,” consisting of animals designed to comfort passengers and relieve their anxiety while travelling. LiLou freely prances around the airport vicinity, often seen frolicking around passengers while letting everyone pet her. The therapy pig has also mastered the art of looking cute for the camera as travelers line up for a selfie.
Jetsetters and first-time flyers alike have grown fond with the Juliana pig. Her charm and devil-may-care attitude have cheered unnerved passengers. “People are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines, whether they’re flying on their journey for vacation or work,” says Tatyana Danilova, LiLou’s owner.
LiLou has become quite a sensation in San Francisco International Airport. The cute pig can make passers-by pause for a while and smile in sheer delight, accompanied with an adorable tune in her toy keyboard.
When LiLou is off duty from gracing the airport with her cuteness, she lives with her owner, Danilova in an apartment in downtown San Francisco. Her diet consists of organic vegetables and protein pellets. LiLou has her own bed and gets walked daily around the neighborhood.
The therapy pig has also become an internet sensation. Her Instagram Page has over 24 thousand followers. You can see the delightful pig pose for the camera while wearing matching outfits for various holidays. It won’t be a surprise if you squeal in joy and excitement while scrolling through her feed. You’ll see LiLou donning cute garbs while sleeping or striking a pose with the rest of the animals of the Wag Brigade.
LiLou and her gang are making the passengers of San Francisco International Airport less stressful and nerve-wracking. You would be surprised how fears and anxieties are common among passengers of air-travel. In a 2014 research, results show how 33 percent of people are slightly uncomfortable flying in an airplane, while 16 percent are afraid of it.
But the therapy pig and the rest of Wag Brigade has contributed more than relief for frightened travelers. “When we first launched the program, our main goal was to relieve stress for our passengers. However, what we have found is we have formed a connection with our passengers, and it’s been totally amazing,” Jennifer Kazarian, guest services manager of San Francisco International Airport.
LiLou, the sweet bundle of joy, and the dogs of all breeds and sizes of the Wag Brigade has created a sense of community. When you see the lovable therapy pig wobble and around the premises, staff, guests—everyone can’t help but flash a smile.
But more importantly, LiLou hogging all the attention as she roams around the airport vicinity is not the just for the benefit of the passengers. Pigs have the intelligence of a 3-year old human. Juliana pigs like LiLou need to have their intelligence stimulated and not become bored. Her life in the Wag Brigade is also a part of maintaining her healthy well-being to stimulate her senses and intellect.
Airports around the world have discovered how therapy animals can be beneficial for the operations and the flyers’ welfare. The Wag Brigade program also has a trusty crew of cute dogs while an airport in Kentucky has miniature horses. But the title of world’s first therapy pig goes to LiLou—and hopefully, we’ll see more pigs like her calm our nerves before a flight.
Watch the video below and see how LiLou works her charm: