If your questions are not answered by this section please send us an email and we'll be more than happy to clear any doubts! Replies might take a while due to high volume of reservations.
DO'S AND DON'TS
Visits in Washington D.C.
Because of new Covid regulations in DC, we need a permit for each visit. We request this permit from the DC health department and they asked us to send the submissions 2 weeks to 1 month in advance. They also mentioned that the address submitted is the location where the alpacas will be allowed to visit. Meaning, we have to be at the exact address that we request on the form. We cannot make any last minute changes in location. There will also be an investigator at the site to greet us and to make sure the animals are in great health. They are always very nice, so worry not!
How did this start?
Hello, and thank you for stopping by! My Name is Andrea and I am the owner of My Pet Alpaca; we are located in Vienna Virginia. Our 2 yearling alpacas Pisco and Chewpacca are our house pets, and we never thought we could ever do something like this, until the quarantine started! Thankfully, we were doing fine staying at home, until we saw how much quarantine had affected the kids. We got inspired when we saw all the parades that the teachers, police officers, and firefighters were doing, and we immediately wanted to join with the alpacas, but unfortunately we can’t walk them for miles at the time, so we thought about driving them instead. And that’s is how this idea started!
Pisco and Chewy had a great disposition with our friends and their kids, they were always curious when we took them out, and they absolutely LOVE walking, hiking and swimming, which is why everything clicked when we saw their potential of bringing joy around with their fluffy faces!
I am guessing you might still have some questions (I know I would!), so we made a section of Q&A for you guys.
WHY DID WE START RAISING ALPACAS?
It all started in Peru, when we moved to a city called Cusco, where llamas and alpacas are in their natural habitat. Funny story, my mom decided she wanted to embrace Cusco a bit more, so she got some alpacas and llamas to be in our back and front yard. We built them a barn and all the commodities they needed, but everything changed when they started having babies!!
The babies that grew up with us, as part of our family, started to come inside the house like our dogs did. Suddenly, it became a normal thing for me to open my bedroom door and see a baby llama eating our cilantro in the living room. That’s how we learnt that they can be indoor/outdoor pets.
ABOUT PISCO AND CHEWPACCA (AKA CHEWY)
Pisco and Chewy are 2 out of the 7 alpacas that we own. They live inside the house with us, and they have their own room, that we turned into a little barn for them. They have access to the rest of the farm, but they always choose to be inside (I’m guessing because we have A/C, ha!).
Even though they are not related, they are a bonded pair, which means they will get stressed if they are separated, which is why we always keep them together no matter what. We shear them together, do their nails, and feed them together as well. If they get separated more than 20 feet Chewy will start to cry, mostly because he’s a big drama queen, but we love him anyway!
Chewy is also super goofy and he doesn’t care about anything as long as he’s munching on some yummy grass! Sometimes he doesn’t even notice when Pisco walks too far.
Pisco on the other hand, is a lot more aware of his surroundings, and he loves to sniff everyone! I’m guessing because he’s trying to find hidden treats (he’s one hungry alpaca!). So we always have plenty of treats for them to make their days a bit more interesting!
HOW TO SET UP AN APPOINTMENT?
You can submit your information in the next section. With that information we can find a date that works for you. The average time for a visit is an hour or two. And the average cups of food are 4, but they have eaten more before! Our prices start at $60 for an hour ($30 per alpaca), the prices are based on location, meaning how far we have to drive to get to you. In the next section there's a list with the cities that we have gone to so far.
WHAT CAN YOU DO DURING THE VISIT?
We will be bringing Pisco and Chewy in our alpaca-van. They hop in and out just like a doggie would. We can provide a pet pool for hot days, cups of alpaca food to feed them ($5 each), and leashes so they can walk around safely. Depending on the weather we can take them for a short walk around the block, or simply let them loose in a fenced backyard.
ARE THERE ANY REQUIREMENTS TO RECEIVE A VISIT?
We like to ask for the normal pet etiquette, meaning: no yelling in their ears, no smooshing their faces, and no playing too rough with them. We must remember that alpacas are curious and shy by nature, so we must respect their space and interact with them in a gentle manner. They will come to you.
We also ask for a shaded area during summer days, this combined with the pool that we provide, makes them as comfortable as can be during summer days. A light rain will not bother them, but if the rain starts pouring down some form of roof or shelter would be very appreciated! But either way, worry not, because Pisco and Chewy have their very own alpaca rain ponchos!
FARM ANIMAL OR HOUSE PET? THE BIG DEBATE
We understand that in the U.S. is a bit of a taboo to have a pet alpaca. Specially for the alpaca-farmers community. What we must remember, is that alpacas are not from a different planet. Meaning, that just like a dog, horse, goat, pig, bird, etc, they don’t like to be alone, so if they bond with you, or any other animal (alpaca or not), they will thrive.
Alpacas are incredibly good with changes. What better proof than they living in the U.S.? I have lived in their environment, and it is cold and dry all year round. While here summers are hot and humid. If they can thrive here in farms, and they can, they can definitely thrive in a house with company, A/C, a pool, and unlimited food and water.
The problem is that since their fleece is so valuable, it wouldn’t be convenient for the farmers if alpacas became a normal house pet. For the same reason (their fleece), alpacas are often raised in overpopulated farms. They get their ears tagged because otherwise they can’t keep track of so many animals (which is very painful for them). If they’re not good fiber producers they sell them for meat, and in times of shearing, they get treated a bit too aggressively, which is why they are usually terrified of people.
Here is where we put our foot down and we get as many alpacas as we can (7 so far), to give them a better life. Even though it might not be common in the U.S., Australia is having an increasing number of pet alpacas, as is Peru, their native country. We understand that change comes with resistance, so we invite absolutely everyone to meet the babies, and see in person what the result of hand-raising an alpaca is, and what a beautiful personality they have, when they get the chance to live as part of a family.
WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY?
Alpacas are very safe to be around, as they do not possess upper teeth, so they can’t bite; they have padded feet, so even if they kick (very rare), they wouldn’t do any damage; and they are very light animals, so they can always be handled by any adult. Perhaps the worst thing that they could do is spit, but Pisco and Chewy have never felt threatened enough to do so.
WHAT DO THEY RAISE THEM FOR?
Alpacas are commonly raised for their luxurious fleece, and their meat. It’s important to notice that we don’t participate in either of those activities. As we will donate the fleece or give it to kids for arts and crafts purposes.