Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Move over, therapy dogs! Therapy llamas are making their way through West Coast hospitals, assisted living facilities and summer camps for children with disabilities. Niki Kuklenski, 42, of Washington state, brings two of her llamas – Flight and Marisco – to cheer up patients several times a month.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    With eyes the size of golf balls, health workers tell Kuklenski these animals bring out the best in patients.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Llamas are camels' South American relatives. They have wool that some people use for knitting.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Kuklenski's llamas are trained to give "kisses," or soft lip bumps.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Not all llamas are cut out for therapy. Of Kuklenski's 25 llamas, only two visit with patients.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    This llama, Marisco, is about 280 pounds, Kuklenski said.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Marisco knows not to move too fast in medical facilities. If he steps on a someone's foot, it could really hurt.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Marisco wears a green therapy vest when he goes to work.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Flight prefers riding in the van to riding in the trailer, Kuklenski said.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    On some trips, Kuklenski will drive two and a half hours each way to share her llamas with patients.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Kuklenski met her first llama when she was 12. She's had them for 30 years.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Although Kuklenski used to ride horses, she prefers to spend time with her llamas.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Kuklenski said she also shows her llamas in the same way people show horses.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
  • Therapy Llamas

    Kuklenski always knows when her llamas are having a good time. Their ears are up. When they're not happy, their ears will go back and they'll hum. This is also how she knows they need to go to the bathroom.
    Jen Osborne for COLORS Magazine
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