A couple of years ago SFO joined the growing list of airports where handlers walk therapy dogs through the terminals to greet pax and reduce the stress of travel. They call the project their Wag Brigade.
This week the Brigade welcomed its 1st non-canine team member: a small, spotted Juliana pig named LiLou, who has her own Instagram account lilou_sfpig.
LiLou is the 1st pig to be certified in the Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She has a variety of costumes, including a Wag Brigade “Pet Me!” vest.
She’s a performer too, with tricks including greeting people with her snout or a wave, twirling and standing up on her back hooves, and playing a toy piano – finishing up with a post-performance bow.
“I can see that she is happy showing off her tricks and getting her praise,” LiLou’s owner, Tatyana Danilova told USAToday. “It also brings positive emotions to me seeing that we can do something good for the community and bring more smiles in some unconventional way.”
SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel says the dogs of the Wag Brigade have been popular, but the airport jumped at the chance to add a new species to the mix. “When we learned of LiLou being certified, and met her, we knew this had the potential to be a very popular addition at SFO.”
SFO isn’t the 1st airport where non-canines are part of an animal therapy program. Since last May, miniature therapy horses have been making regular visits to CVG.