The 49-year-old's future is riding on the llama look-alikes, CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports. Do her friends think she's crazy?
"My friends do think I'm crazy," she said.
She was sick of watching her retirement savings move in the wrong direction, so a year ago, Parks, a building-code inspector, decided to start breeding the furry and low-maintenance creatures from South America.
"With alpacas, it's something tangible that you have in your hand, it's always going to be there," she said.
She made the unconventional investment after learning how robust the alpaca business can be. Alpacas are in high-demand, because their fleece is used in high-end clothing, and a breeding female alpaca can fetch upwards of $15,000. Her initial $56,000 investment for seven animals has already paid off with two new baby alpacas.
"As you can see with a male and female, I've already made at least $15,000 in the first year," she said. "That's a nice return."
Turning to tangible assets - like alpacas - is nothing new. Investors did the same thing during previous market downturns, and didn't always come out ahead.
Travel to parts of Texas and there's a good chance you'll run into an emu. Breeding them for their lean meat was all the rage in the '90s, but when the investors lost their shirts, the birds were set free.
"Research, everybody should do their research," Parks said.
But after doing her homework, she's betting her retirement on them.