Photo: San Francisco International Airport
Airports can be stressful. Whether you left your compression socks at home, sat up the night before watching Con Air, or just felt the fist-sized ball of heroin in your sphincter start to descend, there’s a proverbial butt-ton of reasons why you might be feeling a little tense before you’ve even boarded the plane– and a bad airport experience can threaten to ruin your entire vacay before it’s even begun.
But worry not! The people in the wings, so to speak, have heard your pleas, and they’re answering the call by giving us exactly what we all needed the whole time: cute as fuck animals dressed in children’s clothes.
This is LiLou. LiLou is a ‘therapy pig’– meaning, more or less, that she trots the terminals of San Francisco International Airport in a tutu and a pilot’s hat making people go: “Hey! Wait a minute… Check out that pig!”
Her title’s a bit of a slap in the face to anyone who’s spent ten years of their life completing a psychology degree, to be honest, but LiLou isn’t hear to antagonise. On the contrary, her purpose it to defuse the anxious atmosphere of the post-9/11 airport: by waving her trotters in the air, turning in a circle and occasionally standing up on her back legs, obviously.
It doesn’t end there either. LiLou’s the first little piggy to become a certified ‘volunteer’ in the Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals– which, coupled with the nail-polished hooves and the aforementioned circus routines, is kind of like firing a cannon to celebrate World Peace Day. She’s also an honorary member of the Wag Brigade: a clique of 22 trained therapy dogs, each of whom runs around sporting a ‘Pet me!’ vest like some kind of come-hither harlot.
While this may all seem somewhat remarkable, it’s not an isolated case. From Cincinatti/Northern Kentucky’s miniature therapy horses to Denver’s confusingly named CATS (Canine Airport Therapy Squad), airports across the map are employing animals with big hearts and broken spirits to make humans feel slightly better about the miracle of flight.
When pigs fly it will truly be a miracle– for now, a tutu and a pirouette will do.