Fact: Llamas and alpacas are majestic creatures that will make you smile no matter what you do to try to avoid it.
Fact: Using said llamas and alpacas as actual therapy tools is an idea second in brilliance and necessity only to the invention of the wheel.
Meet Napoleon and Rojo, two exotic beasts that spend their time being the bright spot in people's days.
Napoleon, an alpaca, and Rojo, a llama, belong to Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, an organization based in Vancouver, Washington.
Lori Gregory, the founder of Mountain Peaks, says using the fluffy beasts for good was sort of a no-brainer. She told HLN affiliiate KOIN that a visitor at a local fair told her that Rojo was so snuggly and personable, he should be a therapist. That was all the inspiration that she needed, and now Gregory and her group travel around to assisted living facilities and hospitals, anywhere she knows the animals will bring some joy.
“That’s why it started giving me chills and that’s when it kind of became an addiction,” she told KOIN. “When you realize that they have this amazing ability to create a natural response therapeutic-wise to get people to do things they normally wouldn’t do.”
Now, Gregory's herd has expanded to include six full-time llamas and alpacas in total. They do birthday parties and charity galas as well, often in cute little outfits and hats to drive home the bizarre and joyful nature of it all. Gregory surmises the animals get a good response because, well, you don't often get to come face-to-face with a llama.
Admit it, if these awesome camelids strode into your room, you would be pretty happy, too. Imagine what other great things they can do!