Monday, October 21, 2013


Being a relatively new llama owner, having three never-before-handled ‘babies’ was a little bit scary.

The ride out to Ohio and back was a bad drive. It was foggy and raining and snowing and windy – you name it, I pretty much drove through it. With just me and the truck, that’s fine, but pulling a trailer with live cargo – that was kind of stressful. When I finally got home with the Little Guys, it was dark out. I pretty much got them out to their field as quickly as I could and left them to settle in on their own, in the dark.

Fog & Rain



The next day, I was nervous about taking their halters off. The previous day was the first time they were haltered. They had been all haltered up before I got there, so I didn’t know how easy or hard a time the seller had with the Little Guys. To be clear, I wasn’t nervous about taking the halters off, but nervous about how hard it would be to get them back on later.

I know that when buying a llama, you are supposed to have the owner show you how they are handled, but the guy was honest in saying that they were never handled before, so I didn’t really have any expectations. I just made sure I saw them walk around so that I could see that they were sound and nothing physically wrong with them. (This is pretty much why I could afford these guys).

I also know that you are not supposed to leave the halters on when llamas are out in their field, so I knew I had to take them off. I was amazed at how relatively easy it was to approach them and get the halters off. I’m guessing that they were probably still unsure of their surroundings, so that probably helped.

The morning after the Boys arrived

Over the next few weeks, I worked a lot with the Little Guys. Olliver and Allbus were very jumpy and skittish. Merllin was very calm and laid back. Merllin let me put his halter on very easily after three or four tries. Now he even lets me walk up to him and halter him out in the field – as opposed to the others who only let me halter them in the catch pen. I wonder if the skittishness is a Surri thing, because none of the other Boys are like that…

At this point they can all be haltered with relatively little problem. Olliver has to do his little dance before he will stand still, but the dance is getting shorter as time goes on.


Monday, October 14, 2013


Llamas don’t like to be alone, so having only two Boys was now a problem for me – I couldn’t work with one because that would mean the other one would be left by himself. I had to find another llama to replace Harry.

You know how it is when you are not looking for something and they are all over the place, but as soon as you are looking, they are nowhere to be found? And the opposite it true too. You can’t find something no matter how hard you look and as soon as finally do, they are all over the place. Yeah. Welcome to my world.

So my search for another young, affordable male was quite a struggle. It seemed like everyone had females for sale or really expensive Show llamas, but not what I was looking for.

After weeks of searching, I finally found someone in Ohio who seemed to have a llama that was close to what I was looking for… he was quite a bit younger than what I would have really liked, but that was OK. The funny thing is that he looked a bit like Harry, too…

Again, another long story short – in March, I came home with three llamas.

They were all very young and had never been handled or haltered until the day I picked them up. That made me a little apprehensive, but I figured I would give it a shot.

The one thing that I thought was weird is that none of them had any names. Indiana and Dalai had ‘official’ names when I got them (which I changed anyway), but the new guys didn’t have names at all. That just seems so sad.

Meet the newest Boys:

This is Merllin (yes, spelled with two L’s, because he’s a llama) – He turned one in May. So far he is just the sweetest guy you can imagine. When he grows up, I think he is going to be a phenomenal packer.


This is Olliver (yes, spelled with two L’s, because he’s a llama) – He also turned one in May. He is a Surri llama. His wool is so silky compared to the other regular-wooled Boys. His name is a tribute to one of my most favorite Top Gear episodes.  Merllin and Olliver are half-brothers – they have the same Dad, but different mothers.


This is Allbus (yes, spelled with two L’s, because he’s a llama) – he is my nod the Harry Potter series (as in Albus Dumbledore). He is also a Surri llama and he turned two in September.



Since I got my new boys, at least four llamas right in my area have become available that would have been perfect replacements for Harry. Go figure.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finally Ready

So time has passed and I feel I am ready to write again. A lot has happened over the past year – some good and some not-so-good… But overall, things have been moving along. Not as quickly as I would have liked, but being by myself, everything takes longer to get done.

At the beginning of the year, I lost one of my llamas – Harry. The thing that makes me angry is that if I had more information, the whole situation could have been avoided.

The one thing that is deadly to llamas if contracted, is meningeal worm. The worm is spread by white-tail deer and affects the nervous system. The only known protection is regular injections of Dectomax or Ivermectin. I knew that and was OK with that maintenance. I got the Boys from Pennsylvania – near the Allegheny Forest, which to say contains some white-tail deer is a gross understatement.

The people I bought the Boys from showed me how to give the injections and I received their medical record sheets that listed when they got their shots and anything else they had done. I went home with the Boys happily confident that I would be a good owner.

Looking at the medical charts, the Boys were getting their shots approximately every six months. Twice a year? As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear would say: “How hard can it be?” That was the schedule they were on, so that was the schedule I was going to keep – easy peasy.


Sometime around Christmas, I noticed that Harry was having trouble with his back legs and was struggling to stand sometimes. Once he was up however, he seemed to be fine. After a couple of days, he was still having trouble, so I called the vet.

To make a long story short, it turned out that the Boys were supposed to be receiving shots every month, not every six months. Harry had meningeal worm and they were in his spine. We gave Harry a blast of meds in the hope that we could prevent any further damage and could still have a mostly-normal life, but it was not meant to be. There was a time over the following weeks that it looked like he was going to beat the odds, but in February I made the very hard decision to have him euthanized.


Dalai and Indian watching over Harry 

Fortunately, Indiana and Dalai were not affected.

My next door neighbors were absolute saints in helping me through that hard time – for which I will forever be grateful.

Every time I think about the situation, I get soooo angry. The Boys grew up with gazillions of white-tail deer around them – why were they OK there and not by me? I wish so much that I had known to give the injections more frequently and that Harry was still with me. He was so sweet and would have been a great packer.

I miss you Harry.

Miss you!