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      Alpacas provide new treatment for patients

      Mary Lynn Verley always wanted something to fill her four acres of land. After falling in love with alpacas, she made an investment, purchasing a few alpacas in 2005 and opened Rainbows End Alpacas in 2008."I did a lot of research, and we went to a farm in Two Rivers that happened to have the animals that we wanted to start our farm with," says Verley.Her alpaca products gained popularity in the U.P. with residents eager to wear this unique fiber of clothing."The response was just overwhelming; when people felt the softness and the warmth, they just kept coming," Verley explains.She is teaming up with Tamara Juul, Executive Director of Dickinson County Hospital Foundation, putting patients through a new type of treatment called the Alpaca Love Program."Utilizing this very peaceful, serene environment to heal?|the energy and loving affect these animals have," says Tamara.The program is designed to help those in the midst of serious illness by warming their hearts during recovery through teaching the art of knitting and crocheting."There??s been study after study proving that knitting is therapeutic and improves people's immunity and increases their ability to heal," Tamara says.Both women are anxious to get patients knitting and are asking the community for support to keep the ball of yarn rolling. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Mary of Rainbows End at (906) 563-7034.