SAN FRANCISCO -- Since pigs are not expected to fly, LiLou the pig gets plenty of attention when she shows up at San Francisco International Airport.
For stressed and weary holiday travelers, LiLou provides some much needed comfort and joy.
She has her own Instagram page filled with photos of her hamming it up. She also spreads joy by visiting hospitals and nursing homes.
But for mass therapy, there’s nothing like an airport, said Lilou’s owner Tatyana Danilova.
“People who are upset or you can totally tell how stressed they were, and they’re like, ‘ohhhhh, there’s a pig!’ And some of them would even squeal,” Danilova said.
Lilou is the newest member of what the airport calls its Wag Brigade. The others are specially trained dogs like Poquito who come to the airport regularly to help those who are afraid of flying or anxious over missed connections and long delays.
“It actually reduces depression and anxiety,” said Jennifer Henley of the San Francisco SPCA. The organization works with the airport to train the Wag Brigade as four-legged therapists.
“Animals have that non-judgmental, unconditional love that they’re giving you,” Henley said.
It’s often love at first sight when LiLou is around.
Perhaps the only ones not happy to see her are the other members of the wag brigade, who can only watch as LiLou hogs the spotlight.