It wasn’t a serious idea at first, but it’s turned into a successful business operation.
Carly Ingeveld lives on a farm northwest of Airdrie, and two years ago she and a friend decided to buy an alpaca.
“[We] got him as kind of a joke, honestly,” Ingeveld says with a laugh.
Allen the Alpaca is now five years old and has been quite the social butterfly for the past couple of years.
Ingeveld says Allen was raised with a lot of human interaction so he’s used to people and is very friendly.
The life of the party
Not long after Allen became part of Ingeveld’s family, she took him to her niece’s birthday.
“She had a llama birthday party and the parents were asking me ‘will you do this for us?’”
Soon, the demand for Allen’s attendance at gatherings started to grow.
“That initial birthday party for my niece was what kicked it off and now it’s a full-time business,” Ingeveld says.
A busy social calendar
Allen’s popularity on social media exploded not long after his debut birthday party, and his calendar started to fill.
“It just sort of took off,” Ingeveld says, adding summer is the busiest time of year.
“July is his busiest month, always. He likes going to parties, he’s done tons of Stampede breakfasts, and he has friends that go along with him if people so choose.”
Allen’s sidekicks include Nacho the miniature donkey, Honey the mini-horse, goats Frank and Gary, and bunnies Flower, Buttercup, and Mini.
Smiles and toothy grins
Ingeveld says she loves to see Allen bring smiles to people’s faces.
“He does a lot of nursing homes and stuff, too, which is cool. The seniors love him and the kids, honestly, everybody loves him.”
Every so often, Ingeveld says a child will be apprehensive to meet Allen and will approach him with trepidation, but Allen tends to win everyone over with his demeanour and smile.
“He’s got a little toothy grin,” Ingeveld says. “We think he’s pretty special.”
Ingeveld says alpacas generally live about 15 years and she will continue to bring Allen to events and book home visits as long as the demand is there.
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