Monday, December 20, 2010

Top Ten Reasons for Owning (Loving) Alpacas - The Calming Factor

This is the second entry in my Top Ten Reasons...

Nothing beats having your Monday morning coffee in the calm quiet of the barn, being stared at by 20 sets of big, dark eyes...and knowing the chaos that is in the house as your spouse tries to brush the wild hair of an uncooperative 6 year old before school. Even on a cold, dark January morning, it would be reason enough to jump out of bed and quickly declare, “I’ll get the barn this morning!”. It’s been a few years since I have had a 6 year old in the house…but there are still many times that I choose the barn over the intermittent chaos of our household.

Did you know that some alpacas are used for therapy animals? These special alpacas provide joy and stimulation to residents of care facilities when they make special visits with their owner. Not all alpacas are suited for being touched by many people. The typical alpaca is docile, calm with a naturally curious demeanour which makes them enjoyable animals, but alpacas generally do not like being touched. Some alpacas have special qualities that allow them to make a connection with an individual.
Some farms, that are properly equipped, have days where they host groups of people with disabilities that come to experience the alpacas. People can make a touch connection and enjoy putting their hand into the soft neck fibres of an alpaca as it looks back with its big dark eyes and softly hums.   If not intimitated, curious alpacas will get close as possible to a human face, investigating through smell.

My friend Nancy, of Spinning Wheel Alpacas has a therapy alpaca, Ozzie. Read about Ozzie and their therapy work on Nancy’s website here.

Several people have confided in me that they made their decision to start an alpaca herd when they realized that their life was full of stress and they needed a calming influence. Others told me that they had reached a point where work-stress had taken its toll and they needed something enriching at home to provide a balance.  Small groups of alpacas have been used on farms where special-needs children can care for them and gain both work-responsibility skills and an emotional connection.  My good friend, Nancy, who I mention above says that her alpacas have seen her through some pretty emotional times during her recent battle with breast cancer.

Farming is not an easy task, and being responsible for a herd is not a light commitment. There have been times over the last 8 years, when I thought my family’s life might be easier without a barn full of animals to care for. However, I can also recognize that being able to work quietly amongst these gentle animals, to feel deserving of their trust, to be entertained by their behaviours and to witness their births…has made some of my own stressful times more bearable. 


Azure Islands Designs said...

Just reading your post has a calming effect on me Norma!

Great photos...looks like winter, and the alpacas look like they own the place! :0)

I understand the calming aspect...while it is different, making jewelry has a calming effect on me...seems we have found our niche!

Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy, happy holiday season Norma!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Thanks! Hope your holidays are wonderful and restful!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this Norma..because of your alpaca fiber and my spindle, I ended up with a spinning wheel. My blood pressure has dropped to a safe level and I am starting to relax more and more.

It started with the fiber tho..


Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Geez, thanks Val...what a testamonial ;)
Merry Christmas.

Wooly Knits n Bits said...

I'm enjoying reading your Series of Top Tens.
Knitting is my drug of choice but reading all about spinning, I have a feeling that I would enjoy that too...