Therapy pig calms nervous flyers, hogs the spotlight at San Francisco airport
LiLou is kind of a pig deal at San Francisco International Airport.
The four-year-old porker is the only non-canine member of the “wag brigade,” a team of dogs employed to cheer passengers as they wait for their flights.
The lucky swine, who makes appearances at the airport once a month, has nearly 25,000 followers on Instagram.
“Originally I got LiLou as a pet for myself,” LiLou’s owner Tatyana Danilova told CTV News Channel on Monday.
“Walking through San Francisco streets and seeing the reaction that people from all over the world were giving us was just incredible and gave me an idea to start volunteering at a hospital or retirement home and we got connected with San Francisco SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).”
LiLou, who is a Juliana breed, then went through SPCA certification before taking up her role as a therapy pig.
The piggy has a range of outfits including a tutu and flower garland and her nails are painted.
“Pigs have the intelligence of a three-year-old child,” Danilova said.
“She can play piano, she can bow, she can shake, she can wave, she can also do a (figure) eight.”
It looks like LiLou, who is house-trained, will continue to hog the limelight at San Francisco for some time to come.
“People are very surprised, but it’s a very interesting reaction because people of all ages and demographics they say they have never seen a pig in real-life,” Danilova said.
“It’s just big smiles all round.”