« Back to articlePrint this article

Meet LiLou, the pig who's helping out air passengers

November 12, 2019 08:26 IST

Pigs might not fly but LiLou, a therapy pig, wants to make air travel less stressful.

IMAGE: LiLou, the five-year-old pig is part of San Francisco airport's 'Wag Brigade'. Photograph: Jane Ross/Reuters

The five-year-old pig Juliana and her owner Tatyana Danilova are part of San Francisco airport's 'Wag Brigade' -- a scheme that brings trained therapy animals to the airport to cheer up passengers and ease travel anxieties.

LiLou, dressed in a pilot’s cap and with toenails painted bright red, breezes through airport security and trots around the airport -- posing for selfies and entertaining departing 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,” Danilova was quoted as saying to Reuters. “Everybody is usually very happy and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, ‘oh, it’s great.’” 

IMAGE: Danilova, LiLou's owner says the pig loves interacting with people, but, as a prey animal, doesn't like having anyone approach her from behind. Photograph: Jane Ross/Reuters

While not at the airport, LiLou lives with Danilova in her downtown San Francisco apartment, where she enjoys a diet of organic vegetables and protein pellets, sleeps in her own bed and goes for daily walks around the neighbourhood.

Guest services manager Jennifer Kazarian says LiLou is the world’s first airport therapy pig in a “Wag Brigade” program, which includes dogs of all breeds and sizes, that she has built a sense of community in the airport.

IMAGE: LiLou trots around the airport dressed in a pilot’s cap and with toenails painted bright red. Photograph: Jane Ross/Reuters

“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,” Kazarian was quoted as saying.

IMAGE: LiLou wants to make friends with everyone. Photograph: Jane Ross/Reuters