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All Aboard for Alpaca Visit

The concept of pets as therapy is pretty well accepted, with dogs widely popular, but what about a slightly more unusual animal – an alpaca for example?

Just ask any of our residents who were recently on the receiving end of a visit from two alpacas if they felt better for the experience. Probably none of them had ever previously encountered one of these delightful creatures.

Hugo and Truffle are two young males from Mortimer Alpacas. They live with eight other ‘boys’, near Reading. Alpacas are naturally shy but inquisitive animals. These have been specially trained to hand feed and be used to humans.

It really was close up and personal with Hugo and Truffle meeting our residents and staff in both the communal rooms at The Chiswick and visiting those unable to leave their beds. They even travelled up in the lifts! There was much stroking, hugging, talking and affection which undoubtedly left residents uplifted, happy and calm.

Alpacas, which are closely related to llamas and camels, have placid natures and wonderfully soft coats. Like most animals, they are totally non-judgemental so will stand patiently and accept petting from almost anyone who is quiet and gentle with them.

Using pets for therapy is acknowledged as a great way of enhancing mood, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and often prompting communication in those who otherwise find it difficult to converse with other humans.

The visit was an undoubted success judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces.

Thanks to Hugo, Truffle and Mortimer Alpacas. We look forward to seeing you again.

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