The San Francisco International Airport recently hired a five-year-old Juliana pig and her owner Tatyana Danilova as a part of their “Wag Brigade” programme. The pig named LiLou is a therapy animal which helps to make air travel less stressful, cheers up passengers and ease their travel anxiety. LiLou can be seen dressed in a pilot's cap and with toenails painted bright red. She reportedly poses for selfies and entertains departing passengers with a tune on her toy piano.
In an interview with international media, Danilova said that people are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines. She further added that LiLou usually gets passerby's attention after which they pause for a second and smile. LiLou lives with Danilova in downtown San Fransico apartment and feeds on organic vegetables and protein pellets. She even has her own bed and goes for daily walks around the neighbourhood. In a video posted by an international media outlet, LiLou can be seen playing a tune on her piano and using her hooves and snout.
The guest services manager Jennifer Kazarian reportedly said that LiLou is the world's first airport therapy 'pig'. The “Wag Brigade” programme mostly includes dogs of all breeds and sizes. She further added that the main goal of the programme was to relieve the stress of the passengers but now the airport authority has found that they have formed a connection with their passengers. According to the San Francisco SPCA, all the therapy animals must have a stable temperament, good manners and a friendly personality and the airport has never faced any issues as most of the animals are house-trained.
(With inputs from agencies)