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Looking to relax? Take a walk with a llama

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Doug is the adventurer. Pearl is known for being lazy. Steve is the anxious one, who also rocks a mullet.

They’re just three of Josée Gautreau’s 15 llamas and alpacas at Llama-zing Adventures in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick.

Despite their unique personalities, all of the animals love treats. And for nearly four years, they’ve earned extra snacks by walking with tourists.

“It’s pretty cool. I’ve never walked a llama before,” said Melissa Stevens, who was visiting the Moncton area because her daughter is playing the Canadian Ringette Championships.

Most people haven’t walked a llama. Which is why, Gautreau has learned, they’re willing pay to lead a llama on a leisurely walk through the woods along a river or beach at sunset.

Guests at Llama-zing Adventures in Cap-Pelé, N.B. walk llamas through the forest on April 12, 2024. (Sarah Plowman, CTV News)

About four years ago, it dawned on Gautreau that she could make a business out of the llama walks after she took alpacas to the beach, posted about it on social media, and others said they wanted to join.

Business has been booming since.

People book hikes, birthday parties and visits to seniors homes. Gautreau says the experience can be therapeutic.

“I think animals don’t judge you, they’re very calm. You can cuddle them. There’s no discrimination,” said Gautreau.

She's also says she’s noticed businesses like hers growing in popularity across the country. While she’s happy with the size of her operation now, she’s looking to offer more options.

“I’d like to get into doing a llama campground, so I’m doing some wood-cutting right now,” she said. “I’d also like to get into overnight backpacking trips with the llamas, so I’m building saddles right now for them.”

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