WATCH: Therapy llama brings joy to hospital patients

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — You’ve probably heard of therapy dogs, but what about therapy llamas?

If you haven’t check out the video above.

Earlier this week, patients at a Tennesse hospital spent some time with a llama named Pearl as part of the hospital’s animal therapy program.

And the hospital’s patients and staff seemed to enjoy every minute of it.

“”Seeing the llama definitely brightened my day, and it brightens the patients’ day and it makes their stay a little better,” nursing student Blair Slater, told WMC Action News 5.

Pearl’s owner says she has always been calm and patient- a perfect mix to brighten any hospital patient’s day.

Though a llama may seem like an odd choice to greet hospital patients, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Diane Ridgway, says spending time with any animal as calm and patient as Pearl can have many benefits.

“Studies show simply petting an animal lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, so patients are less stressed,” Ridgway said, according to Methodist Healthcare. “Studies also show dopamine, a blood chemical associated with happiness goes up.”

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