FRESNO, Calif. - For 20 years, alpacas have been Lisa Theis' livelihood.
"They're docile, sweet nice size. The largest male is 210 pounds and they're very therapeutic. They're amazing animals," said Theis.
The North Fork woman is the owner of KT Lee Ranch Alpacas. In 1998 she started her venture raising the animals for sale and for its fleece.
"They are an animal that is raised for its fiber. It's the most luxurious fiber in the world, lighter, finer, softer, warmer, more durable than most other fibers," said Theis.
She takes care of 70 alpacas of different colors and types.
"It's a very kind and gentle process. We lay them down and shear them like a sheep, but we do have our drama kings and queen and we have others that are fine with it," said Theis.
Fleece is sorted and separated by grade. It goes to a fiber mill to be spun into yarn.
"You name it too can make anything out of alpaca fiber."
Several North Fork artisans help turn the fleece into items like blankets. Inside her store, the work of local artists is displayed as well other popular items like socks. She has sold alpaca goods all over the country.
While the alpacas take up most of her day, she says she is glad her gamble on these unique animals has paid off in more ways than one.
"Alpacas are an addiction. It's hard to think of having life without alpacas."