This post is also available in : French
I’ve heard in the past about animals helping people to feel better, to heal and to be more happy, but never thought that this would include a llama ! It’s thanks to Facebook, and a comment made by one of my contact, that I get to discover Rojo, a therapy llama, and I felt immediately in love with him 🙂
Because Rojo is a llama, and me, a knitter, I have loved llamas and alpacas forever, but also because Rojo is even more special : he is a therapy llama ! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m very into helping people, and try to help them by bringing some joy on their daily basis, I then wanted to know more about it. I’ve heard in the past about zootherapy, but never heard about llamatherapy, but I quickly understood how great it could be, just by checking how excited I was to get to meet that llama for real ! 🙂
Rojo lives near my favorite city in the entire world, Portland, in Oregon (USA) so it was obvious : I HAD TO MEET HIM ! 🙂
4 visits spent with him taught me how powerful and what a seducing personnality that animal had (and I have to admit that I’ve missed him also, so I had to see him several times) 🙂 But before I tell you more about it and show you the photos, here are some informations about llamas and alpacas :
– Llamas and alpacas live for about 20 to 25 years old
– Rojo is quite small for a llama, but llamas are bigger and taller than alpacas.
– You can recognize llamas from alpacas for their banana shape ears (alpacas have a bit more “straight” shaped ears)
– the Alpaca yarn is 4 times more dense than the one from the Llama 🙂 (but I would definitely knit both animals !) 🙂 🙂 🙂
Any llama cannot become a llamatherapist. Rojo has been known very young for his very sweet and patient personnality, and then was trained in order to become a therapy llama, helping him to developp these caracteristics. Extremly patient, calm, sweet and loving, Rojo and his llamas and alpaca friends from Moutain peaks are working on making people happier, by being part of events and medical care center visits.
So I’ve been lucky to spend some time with Lori, their owner, and these cute hairy monsters, meeting them for the first time at the charity Auction for the animals : Dove Adore Auction, a fashion show for animals, taking place in the Portland Art Museum .
Having llama and alpaca there was quite extraordinary for me, and I easily noticed all the astonishment, shiny eyes, smiles, surprise and laugh these animals brought in each room they were entering to.
People just couldn’t stop laughing and wanting to hug them, and believe me, I was part of them too ! 🙂
Ok, some dog therapist there for the event too were a bit skeptical (llamas love dogs and where very easy with their presence !)… and cats were… well…. just like cats are 🙂
Love at first sight, can you believe it ?
I have to say : I just didn’t want to be far from these llamas that night and couldn’t stop hugging them and laugh at the sight of them in such a place ! 🙂
Llamatherapy can be for everybody, because really, who will refuse a prescription of good mood, smile, surprise and joy ? I wouldn’t ! 🙂 And this is why I get to see again Rojo, and help Lori with the animals, while at a Health Insurance company in downtown Portland.
Of course, Rojo and Smokey had a specific outfit for the event (made by Lori !) 🙂 And then, I went with them on an even more important mission : visiting a Health Center for elderly people (yeah, my English needs to get some vocabulary here – sorry) .
So I’ve stopped hugging the llamas for a while, and let them do their real and important mission : helping people to feel better and heal by bringing them some joy. And then, I was astonished ! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Astonished by the tranquility and peacefulness of that llama (I already noticed his patience at the previous event I went with him), but here, that was another dimension : “lalalaaaaa, I’m a llama, I’m walking around, here in an hospital hallway, and ohhhhh look, a room with people in it… what if I go Inside ? Ohhh sweeeetttt, they give me carrotts !!!! NICE ! ” 🙂 🙂 🙂
Rojo looks at people, get closer, let them touch him, pet him…
This place smells like disease and antibacterial, loneliness also a little. That’s definitely the kind of place where you don’t want to be but where you have to make your own when you’re sick. And Rojo, with his silly Halloween outfit (home made by Lori), went from room to room, making people smile, happy, surprised, and sometimes even crying of seeing him again….
I’ve never seen an animal being so much hugged but also : I’ve never seen an animal being so receptive, patient and sweet.
I’ve felt extremely touched and mooved by this time spent there ( blessed and grateful to be able to witness it too).
Some of the people there had a hard time trying to speak, but their shiny eyes were speaking for them.
In some of the rooms, the llamas was almost too big to get in there, but no problem, a carott, a hug, and everytime Rojo leaved a room, he left someone with a smile on his/her face.
Lori’s care and support for each personn was also really impressive. Their work is wonderful !
I won’t share that many photos of that visit, by respect and humility for these people, but this visit brought me a lot of joy too….. I’m grateful that I’ve been allowed to witness this, and able to share that with you too…. 🙂
I don’t really have the feeling that zootherapy is very famous yet (especially in France, where I’m from), but I really think it’s a shame, especially now that I’ve spent time with Rojo and Napoleon.
I’m probably going too far here too, but I definitely think some
(French) administration could use some llamas in their service or at least in their waiting lines. 🙂
At last, and because you’ve probably guessed that I’ve really enjoyed a lot spending time with these llamas, here are some unlikely situation that I get to live with Rojo, that still makes me laugh when thinking about it :
Taking the elevator with llamas 🙂
Being in a van with a llama ! 🙂
So, as you’ve guessed, I’m convinced that this world need more actions like these, more therapy llamas, and zootherapy in general.
It will definitely help for a happier world (and a healthier one too).
Please share this, at least to make the world know how great Lori’s work is with these animals, Rojo, Smokey, Napoleon
At last : a book was recently published about Animal Heroes, where Rojo is mentionned
Here’s where to find it 🙂