…llamas can be very therapeutic!
The OceanMHS Wave Program had the pleasure of a visit to Second Wind Farm in New Egypt, NJ on November 8, 2017. The Wave staff and consumers met Bev Vienckowski, owner of the beautiful farm and caretaker of five wonderful llamas! Staff and consumers were able to meet each llama individually, and then the consumers were able to pick who they felt most comfortable with to go for a scenic hike. Bev educated us all on llama caretaking, uses for their fiber, where her five boys – Jimmy, Clemente, Carbon, Eduardo, and Gunner – came from.
One of the most important things we all learned was that llamas can be very therapeutic! They are very adept at sensing how a person is feeling and Bev stressed to all of us the importance of being our ‘authentic self’ with the llamas. She informed us that they can sense how we are feeling and will reflect that, so she encouraged each of us to be ourselves and not to mask or hide any of our feelings. The consumers quickly lined up to meet each llama and when it came time to pick who would walk with which llama there were no conflicts! Greg and Jimmy made a wonderful match, as did Hope and Carbon, who had an instant connection! Ashley chose Clemente, or was it the other way around? Jon matched with Eduardo, who was quite feisty (and hungry) but Jon enjoyed the challenge! Gunner took turns walking with Adonis and the staff, or perhaps he walked us? After the walk was over Bev showed us her little store full of unique llama goodies!
After the visit we all discussed our experience with the llamas. Hope described it as “calm and peaceful.” She stated walking through the woods to the lake with her llama was incredibly relaxing. Jon laughed as he spoke of Eduardo’s need to stop and eat a blade of grass or pine needle every few steps. Greg said he and Jimmy bonded so well he even got a llama kiss! Although this visit was not what we would traditionally describe as animal therapy I would say we all left Bev’s farm yesterday with a greater sense of peace and happiness after being able to bond with these kind animals. Our consumers have all been through programs, individual therapy, speak with their case managers or doctors regularly, but interacting with Bev’s llamas brought each and every one of us comfort and joy that could not be achieved through traditional therapy. Thank you to Bev and your llama boys for inviting us to your home and sharing your day with us!
Kasey Congero, MA, LAC, Wave Coordinator
View the photographs.