We first saw alpacas at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, PA, at the MaPaca Jubilee. At that time, I had just retired from a high-stress job with a Fortune 500 company. I was helping Doris manage Metropolitan Medical, Inc., a small “mom and pop” private ambulance and wheelchair van service which we owned. Metro Med provided first aid and emergency medical services for sporting events and other large gatherings…like events at the Farm Show Complex.
We were providing first aid care for another event at the Farm Show complex that coincided with the MaPaca show. That Saturday morning in April changed our lives. Doris had been at the complex for a while before I got there. When I arrived she said excitedly, “Come look at the neat animals – they’re called ‘alpacas’!” Like my wife, I fell in love with them immediately. I talked to everyone I could about alpacas during the rest of the show and spent many hours on the computer over the following months, researching these wonderful animals.
Two sentences I read on alpacainfo.com captured our situation: “People who have raised their kids and are seeking a business and lifestyle to enjoy as they approach retirement are often owners. Ultimately, whether making the switch from a fast-paced corporate way of life or adding alpacas to an already established rural setting, breeding these unique, gentle animals can provide both income and pleasure all included in a peaceful, stress-free lifestyle.
We had been planning to sell Metro Med after our younger son graduated from college. We wanted to slow down and enjoy the 16 acre farmette we had purchased several years before. The rest is history! On October 5, 2001, we started Bent Pine Alpaca Farm with three Peruvian high-quality Suri females.