It’s official; I LOVE llamas. There, I said it, put out there for the world to know! I love their gentle, sensitive nature, friendly disposition and and most of all their goofy, giggle-worthy expressions, which never fail to bring a smile to my face! Concerned that my llama loving status was bordering on obsession, I was beginning to question wether my love for these comical camelids was founded on anything other than sheer amusement! Thankfully as I researched further my findings confirmed that these beautiful animals are much more than a pretty (funny) face!!!
I squealed in delight when Colours Magazine published the story about The Delta Society, a non-profit organization that licenses animals for therapy in USA. The adorable photo’s lay testament to the happiness that llama’s bring to residents at Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation Center in Washington, USA. Llama Marisco (pictured above), and Llama N.H. Flight of the Eagle (pictured right) are trained therapists, who spread comfort and joy as they stop at each bed to kiss the patients or have a hug. Resident Holly Barto remarked that…
“It was heaven. Just emotionally – to be able to touch an animal and hold an animal close.”
‘Who knew such fluffed-up, carrot munching mammals could bring so much joy’
Laughter is the best medicine.
If I am having an off day, the first thing I reach for is a funny llama picture. Better still, a visit to the local llama park soon blasts my bad moon into infinity and beyond! A good giggle-fest at the Ashdown Forest Llama park, in East Sussex, dissolves the blues and confirms that laughter really is the best medicine! (See my picture gallery below to see me with some of the residents of the Ashdown Forest Llama park!).
There’s a very good reason behind the saying Laughter is the best medicine. Research suggests that people feel less pain after a good laugh, because it causes the body to release chemicals that act as a natural painkiller. ‘Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, who led the research, believes that uncontrollable laughter releases chemicals called endorphins into the body which, as well as generating mild euphoria, also dull pain.’ (BBC)
It is common knowledge that animals in general make us happier and brighten our spirits. A growing body of scientific research now suggests that interacting with animals can make us not only happier, but healthier too. That helps explain the increasing use of animals for therapeutic purposes in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, schools, jails and mental institutions.
The use of pets in medical settings actually dates back more than 150 years, says Aubrey Fine, a clinical psychologist and professor at California State Polytechnic University. Fine who has written several books on the human-animal bond says:
“One could even look at Florence Nightingale recognizing that animals provided a level of social support in the institutional care of the mentally ill,”
So there you have it, next time you’re feeling blue, you know what to do! Head on out to your nearest llama park to insight those warm fuzzy feelings from a fluffy four legged llama! Check out my favourite selection of Llama and Alpaca pics below, guaranteed to bring a smile to any face!!