Video: LiLou the 'therapy pig' introduced at San Francisco Airport

Pigs might not fly, but LiLou the therapy pig wants to make air travel less stressful for sensitive humans.

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

Dressed in a pilot's cap and with toenails painted bright red, LiLou breezes through the metal detector at airport security and trots to the departure gates. She raises a hoof in greeting, poses for selfies and entertains departing passengers with a tune on her toy piano.  

"People are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines, whether they're flying on their journey for vacation or work," said Danilova.

"Everybody is usually very happy and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, 'oh, it's great'."  

At the airport, eight-year-old Katie Schroeder squealed with delight as LiLou bashed out a tune on her piano, using her hooves and snout. 

"I've never seen a pig in the airport. She can do tricks like a dog," said Schroeder. 


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, and that she has built a sense of community in the airport. 

"When we first launched the programme, 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," said Kazarian. 

All the therapy animals take part in a training program with the San Francisco SPCA and must have a stable temperament, good manners and a friendly personality, she said. 

As for little "accidents", Kazarian said there have not been any issues. All the animals, including LiLou, are house-trained.