Last Saturday, I found myself in a precarious position: the strong-willed alpaca I had on a leash was dragging me across the Kentish landscape of Yalding. No, this wasn’t a fever dream. Alpaca walking is the latest creative offering from the forever-innovative well-being industry. This isn’t the first well-being activity to cater for stressed-out animal enthusiasts (puppy and bunny yoga sessions are indeed real). I was curious to find out if alpaca walking would help to rejuvenate me after a stressful week or was it merely the latest well-being fad?
The session began with our group being introduced to the herd of restless alpacas in need of a walk. That was when I was assigned Max: a gorgeous alpha-male wannabe that had been sidelined by the others in my walking group due to his ‘naughty behaviour’. It was love at first sight.
At times during the walk I forgot that Max was in fact an alpaca and not a dog. He cheekily chomped on the foliage we passed and became excitable around the other alpacas. There was, however, one distinctive characteristic not shared by man’s best friend: their ability to spit. At one point during the walk we slipped into the middle of the party, which became a source of contention between Max and Romeo- another aspiring alpha who wanted to lead the pack. In passing Romeo, Max shot a sizable spitball at him - much to my amusement.
For anyone looking for a unique way to get back in touch with nature, I would definitely recommend going on an alpaca walk. My walk with Max was memorable and a great break from studying. If I could offer one piece of advice for those who are interested I would say: “just be prepared to be the one who is ‘walked’”.