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NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Montana Llama Rescue 2011!

Wow!  I have had one of the most amazing experiences in my life, really.  Even the big, bad, biker, Tom, said so.  And remember, he was my reluctant cohort in this rescue mission in the first place.  Well, not once he got there and met these wonderful folks:

The guy in the middle (the driver), looking at the ground, he too is a reluctant participant; because he is used to working with steers.  And until that trip, he thought llamas were sissy animals...I don't think he thinks that anymore; but he still didn't like his picture taken with a bunch of llama nuts!

This is the rig that he drove clear across Montana and Wyoming(in very bad weather, I might add) to deliver our boys to us:
Twenty llamas arrived on this trailer.  It took them two days to get to La Porte, CO.  Which is where we met them at our very wonderful host ranch.  Four foster homes met up to pick up their allotment of rescue llamas, a few various wonderful llama lovers, and rescue friends to lend a hand and a small crew from CSU Veterinary School was on hand.

None of us had ever met before, face to face; but we had been preparing for the big arrival via e-mail for a few we greeted each other as old friends would, with hugs all around (that poor cattle driver never knew what hit him...)!  All was well...

Until we saw this!!!!

This poor guy was down in the trailer, getting trampled by the other llamas as they unloaded.  We all held our breath...Was he alive?  He tried to stand up, fell back down, stumbled out of the trailer and then fell again....  The group, collectively, had not taken a breath yet!  He finally stood up triumphantly, and we all just stood there for a second in absolute shock!  None of us had ever seen anything like it.  His legs were so tangled up in his own wool, it had caused him injuries.  We didn't know whether to cheer for him or cry for him.

After our initial moment of horror wore off, we all knew what needed to be done.  An in field, on site shearing party it was.  With scissors no less...the poor guy got one hell of a bad hair cut, but I'm sure he feels A TON lighter!  After the shearing was done, we got down to separating the boys and figuring out who was going where.  Tom and I had to laugh later that all of us had bonded with Big Guy (the one with the bad haircut), so when the straws were drawn, and yes, we used actual straw, or maybe it was hay...We all wanted Big Guy!

But, as you can see, there were plenty of great llamas that needed care and love.  It was decided that Big Guy (his official name I heard via e-mail last night-ha!) stay near CSU because he has some very specific medical needs that I really don't want to take on.  I have five gelded (meaning fixed, neutered, castrated, whatever) males from this herd at The Royal Ranch, and it has been an adventure getting them home and settled.
As you can see from the pics below, they are settling in.  They don't like dogs...that is for sure!  But, as my youngest son pointed out, in Montana they've probably seen wolves and a canine scent is a canine scent!  When they see our Great Pyrenees, Tia, the big white one does the alarm call to warn the others of danger!
 Big Whitey (so far)~ this guy must have been one of the herd leaders (Wow! out of 800 llamas!) because he scored 4 (on a body scale of 1-9), which is quite good, so he was getting most of the food.  We also think there is a chance that this guy was at some point in time a herdsire, meaning that he was someone's top breeder.  See the tag in his ear?  That could mean that he is an import from Chile or Peru.

We got home well after dark on Sunday, and thanks to a good friend and neighbor's headlights, we got the trailer all ready to unload them, thinking they were just dying to be out after two days of traveling....and NOTHING!  They were comfortably bedded down for the night and that was that.  So we tied the gate of the trailer to the gate of their "Quarantine" area and left them be.

 This is Jose and Shadow, Shadow is our most critical patient (scoring only a 1-2).

 This is Mellow (so far) because he is Caramel colored and very mellow as you can see from this picture.  He is also the only one that willingly got haltered and loaded into the trailer!

 A better shot of Jose, if SWLR accepts us, we may adopt this rebellious boy, he pulled a muscle in the big, bad, bikers back putting him in the trailer, and he was the smallest of all!  Leave it to me, to like the roughest one of the bunch!
A group (or butt) shot of the boys checking out their small outdoor yard.  I wanted it small on purpose.  I don't need these boys getting a ton of exercise and fighting right now.  This is a resting and healing zone.  On the other hand, they do however have a huge covered area that gets a ton of sunshine and fresh air, just what the doctor ordered.  Maybe not the photographer though!
And this dear Readers, is your llama.  I thought it would be fun for you all to get involved with the naming game!  I am sorry about the light with this picture, but he is a spectacular boy, because he goes from a cream color to a caramel color that gradates into a dark brownish rust.  And then as you can see, he has some white socks too.  Once we get this nasty batch of wool off of him, the wool that comes in, will be fantastic!  I am hoping to find spinners for him, Big Whitey and Mellow, as they all have beautiful wool. 

It really has been an amazing few days.  Sunday was unbelievable.  Those folks were wonderful and are friends for life now, even if we just e-mail each other for support from now on...which the e-mails have been flying!  But to be a part of the nation's biggest animal rescue has been something I can't even describe in words...beyond satisfying?  Now you too can be a part of it, help name our nameless guy...