Socialize, train and teach! Sophomore does it all at alpaca job

JULIA BARSTOW, Reporter

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It is not uncommon that some students have jobs doing things like bussing tables, babysitting, or waiting tables at local cafes. However, sophomore Isabella Messick works with alpacas during her free time.
The tenth grader works at Three Oaks farm located in Forest Hill, Maryland, where she socializes the alphacs, cleans their areas, and trains them to be more kid and people-friendly.
The family owned farm originally started out with three alpacas, two female and one male. Since the beginning, the farm  has acquired more after a few babies were born and a breeding program that has been successful.
With 15 alpacas on site, the farm is open for visits and tours which are generally designed for 0-5 year old children. Kids can even take classes to learn about the farm, nature and its animals while getting hands on experience with the 15 alpacas roaming the grounds.
The high school trainer was originally introduced to this job when she went to visit Three Oaks farm, on a tour where you can have interactions with the animals. After the tour she was interested in working on the farm and was able to get incontact with the owner, to  secure a job..
Messick has never worked with alpacas before and says her favorite part of the job is that “it’s a new experience and something different for me to learn.” The sophomore also comments that her least favorite part about her job is “having to be careful of being kicked or spit on. “
Messick says, “it’s not terribly common for alpacas to be socialized but these alpacas are around kids a lot so we have to make sure they are safe around them and they won’t do anything to harm anyone.”
Besides the possibility of being spit on, Messick said she is glad she took advantage of the the unique experience to work with an animal not many people have the opportunity to work with.
Additionally the sophomore in the future wants to work with animals but is not 100% sure what animals or any specific major.

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Socialize, train and teach! Sophomore does it all at alpaca job