Alpacas wear tiny hats and spread cheer at La Grange center

My Statesman
By: Pam LeBlanc
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture 

Original content from My Statesman.
Nothing beats an alpaca wearing a tiny black cowboy hat, bandanna and monogrammed red vest when someone’s day needs brightening.

A trio of fluffy, four-legged emotional support alpacas named Tex, Willie and Waylon proved that when they strolled into the Texas Rural Health Services building in La Grange recently, gamely fielding hugs and pats from adult clients with intellectual challenges.

“Just being around them and hugging them melts stress away,” said the alpacas’ owner, Loretta Hajovsky.

Alpacas, which are related to camels, are commonly bred for fleece. But the animals, which have underbites and cloud-soft fur, apparently also have a calming effect on humans. They hum and make people smile, too.

That’s why Hajovsky is on a mission to qualify alpacas as official service animals. In Texas, only dogs or horses can get the certification, which requires special training.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at My Statesman.