Anxiety sky-high? San Francisco’s airport has you covered.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers nervous flyers therapy animals, such as a pig and a rabbit, to help calm them down.
The program, known as the Wag Brigade, debuted in 2013 and the airport partnered with the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to bring certified emotional distress animals into the airport.
Among their gaggle of cuties, includes a pig named LiLou, a 34-pound rabbit named Alex, and several dogs.
The program originally only included dogs until 2016, when LiLou and Alex were added to the family.
A team of cute animals are ready to help nervous passengers at the San Francisco International Airport, as part of the Wag Brigade program, which debuted in 2013
Each animal was chosen for their temperament, as they must deal with the high stress and movement of an airport.
‘We do meet a lot of people here in the airport who have never met a dog, who’ve never pet a dog,’ Jennifer Kazarian, who runs the program, told AXIOS. ‘As a child might do, they walk right up to the dog and try to stick a finger in the eyeball or in the mouth, or just grab a tail or an ear. So we need to make sure that [the animal is] going to be okay.’
She calls the pack of animals the ‘unicorns of therapy animals.’
Each animal works a two-hour shift a week and travelers can find them wandering through various terminals wearing ‘pet me’ vests. Travelers can oftentimes figure out where the animals are by following the program’s Instagram page.
LiLou the Pig is the ‘first certified piggy’ in the program and loves to ‘perform with her toy piano’ for passengers
LiLous loves to wave at passengers and shake their hands. And she also loves to ‘perform with her toy piano’
LiLou joined the team in 2016 and became the first pig certified through SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program
LiLou joined the team in 2016 and became the first pig certified through SPCA’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program.
She’s hypoallergenic and she’s quite talented, knowing to how wave at passengers and shake their hands. And she also loves to ‘perform with her toy piano,’ according to the program.
‘LiLou also likes to twirl and can stand up on her back hooves. She can run an “8” and push the ball with her snout,’ the program said.
LiLou, a native of San Francisco, also loves a good costume and can be seen on her Instagram wearing sunglasses, bows, and plenty of hats.
Alex the Rabbit weighs 34 pounds and has a lot of love to share
Known as Alex the Great on Instagram, this big rabbit is a part of the largest breed of domestic rabbit, known as Flemish Giant
He’s known for being ‘docile’ and ‘patient’ with travelers and is often seen throughout the airport
Known as Alex the Great on Instagram, this big rabbit is a part of the largest breed of domestic rabbit, known as Flemish Giant.
He’s known for being ‘docile’ and ‘patient’ with travelers and is often seen throughout the airport.
Alex is a big hit among passengers and enjoys lounging on people’s laps and being petted.
Brody the Dog is originally from Texas and enjoys spreading the love to both airport-goer and college student
Brody is also a certified Canine Good Citizen and loves to help college students through their stresses at nearby schools before exams
The six-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born in Plano, Texas, and has since become a member of the Wag Brigade.
He is a certified Canine Good Citizen and loves to help college students through their stresses at nearby schools before exams.
When he’s not working to help anxious travelers and students, he loves to chase animals on TV, because ‘he thinks they might pop out of the TV set and play.’
Brody gets to work for the Wag Brigade alongside his brother Prancer.
Prancer the Dog, much like his brother, loves to help others and is known to be a ‘relaxed California dude’
Prancer loves to watch TV with his brother and enjoys shows with other dogs in it
Like his brother, Prancer is a hard worker. In addition to helping travelers get through the busy airports, he also helps hospital patients and college students have little moments of fluffy joy.
Prancer was born in Tracy, California in 2010 and is enjoys watching TV with his brother. He loves news broadcasts and any shows featuring other dogs.
‘He is a very smart, sweet, handsome lad and has a calming effect on all the folks he meets,’ the program said. ‘He is, after all, a relaxed California dude.’
Brixton the Dog was ‘born to be a therapy dog’ and loves to hand out kisses and head nuzzles
Brixton is often giving out kissing and head nuzzles when he’s on duty
Brixton takes his job at the Wag Brigade ‘very seriously.’
‘[He’s] doling out love at every turn,’ the program said. ‘Kisses, tail wags, shakes and nuzzles are in his daily routine.’
Brixton also works with kids at the Columbia Boys and Girls School in San Francisco, as well as, at the Salvation Army and at area colleges.
Never one not to have a smile on his face, he also loves a costume. He is often seen on his Instagram wearing a pilot outfit, as well fun glasses, and even dressing up as a pilgrim on Thanksgiving.
He even cheered on Team USA when they played at the FIFA World Cup earlier this week.
Bombay acts ‘more like a walrus than a dog’ and comes from a large family of 10
Bombay loves sleeping and partying with other dogs, but he could forgo raccoons and mushrooms
Bombay is an English Chocolate Lab that was born in a litter of 10 in December 2015 to parents ‘Magic Mike’ and Jeanie.
At the time of his birth, he was only 13 pounds and fit in a shoebox, but now weighs 104 pounds.
‘He likes sleeping, swimming, partying with other dogs, meeting new people at airports, and sniffing people’s luggage,’ the program said.
What he doesn’t like? Well…’raccoons, fireworks, mushrooms, and taking a bath.’
George Morkie is the perfect dog to comfort humans in an airport, as this little fella has clocked in more than 50,000 air miles each year
He’s named after his mix, which is a Maltese/Yorkie, which is known as Morkies
He’s named after his mix, which is a Maltese/Yorkie, which is known as Morkies.
This little Morkie loves to travel and has been on countless planes himself, making the airport his second home.
‘He’s excited to be greeting passengers and showing them around his home airport,’ the program said.
He joined the program in 2016 and when he’s not at the airport, he spends his time bringing joy to nursing homes.
Lia’s a cookie monster and has even founded a Corgi meetup group
Lia founded the Everyone Loves a Corgi group, which helps San Francisco corgis meetup
Lia loves humans, but she loves cookies even more, according to the program.
She founded the Everyone Loves a Corgi group, which helps San Francisco corgis meetup.
She lives in San Francisco.
Ollie the Dog is a ‘lovebug’ and loves to play at Douglass Park
Ollie is a ‘joyful’ dog that will ‘make you giggle’ and ‘melt stress away’
Ollie is an 80-pound dog and is ‘half Standard Poodle and half English Cream Golden Retriever.’
He loves to play in various parts and to meet new people.
‘His joyful goofiness bring smiles, his prance makes you giggle and his calm sweet demeanor melts stress away,’ the program said. ‘You can’t help but want hug this Big Fluffy Guy.’
Pink the Dog loves to sunbathe and to be the ‘diva’ she is
This girl loves to shop, travel, and sunbathe, much like the many travelers heading to tropical locations
This girl loves to shop, travel, and sunbathe, much like the many travelers heading to tropical locations, making her the perfect airport dog.
She also loves to go on long car rides and loves her job at the airport even more.
Roman the Dog is a ‘couch surfer’ who loves his snacks
Roman is a nine-year-old dog who was rescued after his original parents died
Roman is a nine-year-old dog who was rescued after his original parents died.
He has a brother that is the exact opposite of him and isn’t as keen to be a couch surfer like Roman.
Toby the Dog is ‘on a mission to make people smile’
When Toby’s not at the airport, he can be found at homeless shelters, mental health facilities, and schools
Toby is ‘irresistible’ and loves to make as many people smile as he can.
When he’s not at the airport, he can be found at homeless shelters, mental health facilities, and schools.
‘Adults love him, kids love him, and even tweens find him irresistible,’ the program said. ‘The feeling is mutual – Toby loves everyone.’
Tzigan the Dog can ‘melt the heart of everyone’
Tzigan ‘loves children’ and has participated in programs to help children learn to read
Tzigan ‘loves children’ and has participated in programs to help children learn to read.
In his free time, he’s working through an advanced obedience course and loves to go on rides and take naps.
He also loves playing with his sister and his toy duck.
Wrigley the Dog is a 150 pounds of sweetness with a ‘huge heart’ and ‘irresistible huggablity’
Wrigley is a ‘giant teddy bear’ who is a mix between a Newfoundland and a Poodle
Wrigley is a ‘giant teddy bear’ who has a fun-loving personality.
‘His loving cuddles are larger than he is and he’s a pro at melting your travel worries away,’ the program said.
The Newfoundland/Poodle also enjoys a good swim.
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