Airport pets help stressed travellers, an idea that is catching on.
And while most people think it is mainly dogs – think again.
There are cats, pigs, horses, rabbits and even alligators to help those stressed out passengers.
So far using animals to help harried travellers is a North American phenomenon.
It is especially popular at American airports.
Often there up to 100 dogs being used to calm worried passengers.
But one airport takes the cake.
It is San Francisco.
It has a pig.
The name is LiLou.
And of course she has her own Instagram account.
She often dresses up to meet celebrities.
So far her biggest claim to fame has been greeting Dr. Jane Goodall, the renowned expert on chimpanzees.
Goodall describes her encounter with LiLou this way:
“I knelt down to greet LiLou, even before greeting Tatyana Danilova, her owner, and Anil who described himself as LiLou’s Dad.
“In front of the crowd that soon gathered she demonstrated how she can play the “piano”. She can also play ball and pirouette, as well as wave goodbye with a trotter, and sit and lie when told.”
Of course the snout-to-snout greeting between the two was posted on LiLou’s Instagram account.
Airport Pets Help Stressed Travellers
Using pets at airports is constantly growing.
The latest one is at Montreal.
And while most people likely don’t realize it these pets undergo a lot of training.
Also the pet services are done by volunteers,
The idea of pet therapy dogs at airports started in California.
It was at Mineta San Jose International Airport.
It began after the horrific 9/11 attack in New York.
Airport officials thought it would be a good way to ease travel jitters.
Soon thereafter other airports followed after seeing how effective the program was.
Heidi Heubner is director of the pet program at the Los International Airport.
“The dogs bring strangers together,” she says in an interview with Bark magazine.
“We’re often afraid to talk, or are on our devices, but with the dogs, people are sharing stories and photos of their own dogs, talking about where they’re going. I never get tired of watching them.
“Sometimes my face hurts from smiling so much, watching them in action and listening to what the passengers are saying.”