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Meet LiLou, The World's First Airport Therapy Pig

Meet LiLou, The World's First Airport Therapy Pig

While pigs don't fly, passengers at San Francisco International Airport are no doubt doing a double take upon seeing a therapy pig walking through the terminal.

The American airport has taken a rather pig-cular route and hired a five-year-old Juliana swine named LiLou for her endearing personality, charming pilot's costume, and red painted toenails in a bid to help calm nervous fliers.

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LiLou and her owner, Tatyana Danilova, are part of the airport's 'Wag Brigade', a program that brings therapy animals to SFO airport to cheer passengers up and help ease travel anxieties.

The sow, who is the world's first therapy pig on the 'Wag Brigade' program, encourages passengers to interact with her down by the departure gates in her cute costumes and a vest that read 'Pet Me!'.

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Whether it be a selfie or playing a tune on her toy piano, LiLou has brought immense joy to airport guests since joining the program in 2013, according to her owner Tatyana.



Speaking to Reuters earlier this month about LiLou, she said that the pig loves interacting with 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.

"Everybody is usually very happy, and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, 'oh, it's great.'"

When she's not putting passengers at ease at SFO, Tatyana said LiLou lives with her in her downtown San Francisco apartment, where she has her own bed and goes for daily walks.


While Guest Services Manager Jennifer Kazarian said has built a sense of community in the airport, LiLou is the world's first airport therapy pig in a 'Wag Brigade' program.

Kazarian explained: "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."

The manager added that all SFO therapy animals, which also includes dogs of all sizes, take part in an extensive training program with the San Francisco SPCA and must have a good temperament and a friendly personality.

Why don't all airports do this?!

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/LiLou The Pig

Topics: Life News, travel, Real Life, Health

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at [email protected]

 

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