There are good days and there are bad days when you run an animal rescue facility. When I received the phone call from some folks 6 hours away that were having a tough time with the bank and needed to find a home immediately for 19 llamas I didn't think no ... I thought what am I going to have to do to pull this off? I've been on bigger rescues, I've driven longer distances to save animals. The details are always the toughest to work out. The first thing that I started thinking about was: where was I going to borrow a larger trailer to get them all in one trip. My trailer is too small to carry 19. The next thing that I was thinking: what muscle could I get to road trip with me; since there was no way I was going to wrestle 19 wild llamas in the trailer by myself? I found the trailer, Justin and Chris were up for an adventure--plans were made to take off for our mission at midnight on Friday night.
We arrived at 6am as planned to get the llamas. I was hoping that they would be locked in the barn ... we could back the trailer up and be home bound by 7am Saturday morning. Llamas are an amazingly intelligent animal and have the unbelievable ability to foil the best of plans. Due to the fact that we've done this a couple of times, Justin and I had everyone on the trailer and we were back on the road with two heartbroken people standing in the driveway waving their goodbyes. It didn't take me long to figure out that these were not your normal llamas. They were in good shape but over half the herd stood for the entire six hour trip back home; very odd and not something that I've ever seen before. Normally as soon as the trailer starts moving the llamas kush (or lay down) but these llamas were not making anything easy or normal.
We arrived back to the farm slightly behind schedule and really happy to be back. I decided that while the llamas were still on the trailer that they should get their worming shots. That went as I expected it would, it was not on the top of the llamas' list of things to do after a long ride but it had to get done. Now the fun part. I don't let intact male llamas out with the herd until they have been gelded.
Supposedly there were five intact males running with this herd. I started letting them off the trailer and running them down through the barn through a series of locks where I could sort off the males into pens and let the females out into the herd. My daughter Hannah (who is 12 and has rescued more animals with me than most animal shelters have) quickly volunteered for the Easter egg hunt and we quickly had seven males identified and separated. The one six month old male cria got a reprieve and got to go back out with his mom and the herd ... this still left us with six males, not five.
The females with their crias (most likely rebred) have adjusted well over the last couple of days. They like their new mountain view and they are starting to settle in. They do not want to sleep in the barn and prefer to sleep out in the middle of a 10 acre pasture. I am starting to get into their heads and get to know them. You really don't have to be an animal communicator to pick up on their vibes. They know that I won't hurt them and they know that I helped them but they are very nervous and you can feel that they haven't settled into their new home yet. They are confused, don't understand why they are here and really would like to be someplace that they are more familiar with. If they only knew what their fate could have been.
They have a lot ahead of them. They will be given the time that they need to settle in before I start halter breaking them. The first of the biggest two obstacles are over.
The males are the next hurdle. They need to be gelded before they can be let out of their pens to rejoin the herd that they have lived with their entire lives. I need to raise at least another $1000 to cover the vet bill for their surgeries. We have received enough donations to cover the transportation costs. Our facility has grown a lot over the last 10 years. I can no longer afford to pay for everything out
of my checkbook as a teacher. We have to rely on donations because my vets won't come for free. :) I have never been good at begging for money. We have become a not for profit facility now (not like any rescue facility ever makes a profit). The nice thing about this is that people that donate money to us can write it off as a tax deduction. I am hoping that we can raise the money to cover the geldings this week so that I can get the vets here. Once the males are gelded, we can handle the rest of their care, worming shots, vet visits, feed, shearing, training, etc. We have never turned an animal in need away and I don't intend to start saying no anytime soon. I really am flattered that so many of our supporters have sent a check. It really validates what we do that other people support us. As soon as we get the guys gelded and everyone gets settled in, I would love to teach anyone that would like to learn how to halter break a llama a few of my tricks to do that.
Tomorrow I will try to write a blog on all of the wildlife that we have taken in over the last couple of months. It is my intention to get blogging again so that our friends and supporters can see what is coming in on a weekly basis and hear the story of those animals as well. Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day for the computer when I would really rather be in the barn with the animals.
Till the next update,
Support NY Wildlife Rescue Center!
Main site: www.redmaplefarm.net