Many people have heard of therapy dogs and even horses, but have you heard of therapy llamas?
"Imagine being in a nursing home or being in a hospital and a llama walks through the door," Annie Magnant, the president and CEO of Pet Partners, said. "You're going to be telling your friends and family about that day."
Pet Partners is a non-profit organization that registers therapy dogs and other animals, including llamas.
The difference between a therapy animal and service animal is that the former offers comfort while the latter helps a person achieve a task, according to Pet Partners. Therapy animals are not allowed in businesses or other areas with a "no pets" policy, while service animals are allowed to go almost anywhere the general public is allowed.
Flight is a therapy llama. She's registered with Nikki Kuklenski of JMK Llamas in Bellingham. Kuklenski said that Flight enjoys her work and is a bit of a diva.
"Not every llama is cut out for this," she said.
Kuklenski revealed that although llamas are herd animals, Flight likes to spend time on her own or visiting with kids or seniors in the hospital more than being around other llamas.
"She's not like a dog. She's more like a cat in the way that she's a little more aloof," Kuklenski said of Flight. "When we go into situations she reads people and gauges how their reaction is to her and that’s how she reacts."
Kuklenski said she's brought Flight into her classes and she's volunteered at Camp Korey, a summer camp for children with life-altering medical conditions that prevent them from going to other summer camps.
"From the day she was born, she was very smart and she was also like an old soul," Kuklenski said. "She's very relaxed and practical about what she does and how she does it. And she's always enjoyed interacting with people and hamming it up."