Therapy llamas spread a little love
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - We're used to seeing animals on a farm, right? But, there's something curious going on in Bellingham. A llama, named Flight, is getting all dolled up.
After getting ready, she hopped into a llama van and rode off.
"She was always the perfect llama. She never did anything wrong," said llama handler, Niki Kuklenski.
That makes Flight the ideal therapy llama.
"Yeah," said Kuklenski. "They're not the most common therapy animal, but the thing that's nice is they're not loud and they're pretty calm."
Flight regularly visits camps, hospitals and schools to spread a little love.
"A llama's perfect. "They can take them in any form they want. They can hug them, they can kiss them or they can just look at them. For a lotta people that's very calming and soothing," said Kuklenski.
Kuklenski said sure other animals are great, but carefully selected llamas are the best for therapy because they're trustworthy. She and her husband, Jeff, can take Flight to a place like Merrill Gardens Retirement Community with complete confidence.
Even though Flight is 6-feet tall and weighs almost 300 pounds, she'll stroll into the elevator, saunter down the hall and right into a room.
Kuklenski said Flight is better behaved than most dogs including therapy dogs.
She claims a llama's reputation for spitting is undeserved and a non-issue.
"I mean just like all animals, there are some that aren't wired right. But, a llama shouldn't just run up and spit on someone. Flight's never spit on anyone in her life," Kuklenski said.
Kuklenski has witnessed how Flight can change lives. She remembers a kid at Camp Korey who was too sick to move from a blanket.
"The dogs didn't want to go over near the child. and my other therapy llama actually crawled on his knees and layed over in front of him and let him pet him. so that was kinda cool," she said.
A warm kiss from a llama is one you won't soon forget.