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December 6, 2016

San Francisco International Airport adds pig to its animal therapy service

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California, US, has introduced the country's first airport therapy pig to greet and welcome its passengers.

By Lopamudra Roy

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California, US, has introduced the country's first airport therapy pig to greet and welcome its passengers.

Named LiLou, the Juliana-breed pig has joined SFO’s Wag Brigade, a team of pets certified by the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (SPCA) Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programme.

SFO Guest Experience director Christopher Birch said: “Since its launch in 2013, the SFO Wag Brigade has become a favourite amenity among travellers.

“With the addition of LiLou, we can look forward to more moments of surprise and delight for guests at our airport.”

Lilou, decked up in attractive costumes and painted nails, is used to surprise and entertain passengers travelling to and from the airport.

The pig will perform tricks for guests at the airport, as well as other facilities in San Francisco, such as senior centres and hospitals.

San Francisco SPCA AAT manager Dr Jennifer Henley said: “We have more than 300 dog, cat and rabbit volunteer teams, but LiLou is the first pig in our programme.

"Since its launch in 2013, the SFO Wag Brigade has become a favourite amenity among travellers."

“It’s wonderful to witness the surprise and delight that LiLou brings to people during therapy visits.”

Launched in December 2013, the SFO Wag Brigade therapy team includes trained animals that are posted at the airport terminals to interact with passengers.

Before being appointed at the terminals, the animals are certified by the San Francisco SPCA through its AAT programme.

The animals wear vests with ‘Pet Me’ written on them in order to encourage passenger interaction.

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