By Olivia Waldriff 
BELLEVILLE – It may sound like something out of a movie but a local alpaca farmer says there is real therapeutic value in talking to animals.
“You can definitely have a whole different level of communication by just opening your heart and your mind,” said Kung-Oliver about the benefits of communicating with animals.
The workshop, taught by animal communicator Lee Andries , teaches basic theories of animal communication and the tools and techniques you need to talk to your animals at home.
Kung-Oliver said when she first heard of interspecies communication she was doubtful that it was real but after attending the workshop herself she said she is a believer.
“It is amazing what it is like…but it is real. I highly doubted that before. But, I am now absolutely convinced,” she said.
People can communicate with animals in different ways, she said. Some can hear the animals while others can see pictures in their mind and there are people, herself included, who just know.
“It’s always there, we just never wanted to listen,” said Kung-Oliver.
She has run Old Mill Alpacas for almost nine years. Her interest in alpacas started when she was visiting another farm. She was asked to watch an alpaca while the person managing the herd left to close the gate. The alpaca, Kizmet, could sense how nervous she was and moved behind her to rest his head on her shoulder, she said. Kizmet still does that to this day, she said.
When you arrive at Old Mill Alpacas, you are greeted by Fat Tony, a barn cat that lives on the farm, and a wooden barn that has bags of alpaca fibre. There is a wall of show ribbons and a store upstairs. Beyond the ribbons are stalls that lead to a fenced area outside, usually a few male alpacas are inside enjoying the hay. On guard are Phil and Atreus, two out of five of the guard dogs on the farm.
Past the bridge that sits over the creek, you can see the female and baby alpacas. There are three baby alpacas and two granny alpacas to watch over them. Across from them are more female alpacas eager to be let out to their pasture so they can eat the grass. Watching over them are Rita and Poppy, two more guard dogs.
Kung-Oliver realized the sweet nature of alpacas. She said they are usually timid and shy but once you get to know them you learn about their unique personality.
“Personality-wise… it’s as wide a range as you could get with humans,” she said.
Talking to animals is all about senses, according to Kung-Oliver.
The workshop has time dedicated to teaching how senses are important when trying to communicate with animals.
The words she would use to describe it are humbling and moving.