WHAT: A trio of very charming emotional support alpacas—wearing tiny cowboy hats, obviously—who made a special trip to the Texas Rural Health Services center in La Grange last month.
WHO: Waylon, Willie, and Tex (the alpacas) and Loretta Hajovsky of Texas Party Animals, their human handler.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: First of all, if you have to ask, you may never know. But if you want it spelled out for you, Waylon, Willie, and Tex (Hajovsky really missed an opportunity. “The Boys” would be a fine name for an alpaca!) are adorable, and—as emotional support animals—they have good jobs that help people.
Often, an emotional support animal is really known as a “thing people call their pets in order to get them on airplanes.” But Waylon, Willie, and Tex had a mission at the Texas Rural Health Services, where they visited with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The alpacas are registered with the Emotional Support Animal Registration of America, which is one of several organizations that provides identification and tags for animals that have clear jobs.
The August 10 visit to La Grange, originally covered by Pam LeBlanc of the Austin American-Statesman, was only one of the things that the trio undertakes—according to the Texas Party Animals Facebook page, they’re also available for weddings and other events. The alpacas aren’t registered as service animals (under Texas law, only dogs are eligible as service animals) but they are intelligent creatures capable of serving as good companions for people. They look like llamas, but are a lot smaller—they typically max out around three-feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh around 150 pounds, similar to miniature horses on the smaller side—and, like llamas, have a reputation for being calming animals to spend time around. That makes alpacas a good choice for visiting a facility like Texas Rural Health Services, or when visiting a high-stress environment like a wedding, or, really, anyone living on earth in these stressful times. Take a look at Waylon, Willie, and Tex and tell us that things wouldn’t seem a little bit better with an alpaca at your side.