US Airport Enlists Therapy Pigs To Help Calm Nervous Flyers

The Pigs Are Flying

Animal-assisted therapy may sound daft to the naysayers out there, but it is actually a system that has proven useful in the treatment of everything from depression to literacy issues in children.

loaded knows only too well that our furry friends can be exceedingly comforting in the hardest of times. They don’t judge our struggles or how we choose to handle them, they just lend a helping paw. 

Dogs are most widely used as therapy animals, several charities linked to residential homes, hospitals, hospices, schools, day care centres and even prisons have been adopting these canine helpers.

“Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.” Says the Mayo Clinic.

Now airports around the world have jumped on the bandwagon meaning that that a dog you see in a terminal may not be looking for any suspicious smugglers but rather the chance to comfort those distressed by flying. 

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San Francisco’s International airport is among the first to test out such a system with LiLou, the therapy pig joining their staff.

The adorable oinker is the newest addition to their WAG brigade and the first non-canine member. 

As USA Today writes:

“LiLou is the first pig to be certified in the Animal Assisted Therapy Program of the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She has a variety of costumes, including a Wag Brigade ‘Pet Me!’ vest. And, according to the stats on LiLou’s Wag Brigade trading card, she also performs a variety of tricks, including greeting people with her snout or a wave, twirling and standing up on her back hooves, and playing a toy piano — with a proper, post-performance bow.” 

She’s expected to make an appearance at the airport once a month to greet all the lucky and nervous passengers. And that’s only the start – there is also a therapy horse at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

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All of which begs the question – therapy horses: yey or neigh?

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Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.