It was NOT easy-- it took us almost three hours. The vet was an amazing shot with his tranquilizer dart blowgun, but it was hard for him to get close enough, and the llama's awful coat of burrs acted like armor. Then, even though the llama took at least two tranquilizer darts, it STILL didn't go down.
Eventually however, it did get woozy enough for the vet to lasso it-- barely. It took all of us, pushing and pulling, to make him move to the trailer. He wasn't fighting, and didn't try to spit or kick even once, but he was pretty firm about not wanting to move. Once haltered and tied to the trailer, he was reasonably calm, and the vet was able to give him wormer, vaccinations and a toenail trim. The vet reports that he's not starving, but judging by the condition of his feet, had probably never had vet care. Also, his face is seriously disfigured:
That weird bump thing is what's left of the top part of his nose. The vet says it looks like he'd had a small halter put on him when he was young, and as the llama grew, it was never taken off and became embedded in his skin. Eventually part of the nose actually rotted off, and part was overgrown with scar tissue.
It's truly amazing that this guy is alive.
The llama was apparently brought out to the farm by some Hispanics. They had rented part of an old pasture to raise sheep on, and became concerned about coyotes. Since llamas can act as guard animals, they put the llama in with the sheep. Eventually, the Hispanics took the sheep out-- and just left the llama. It's been there for years. It seems to have survived by roaming freely on a hayfield next to its broken-fenced pasture.
Unfortunately, the llama is not home quite yet. In the abnormally warm weather this afternoon, the field became a mudhole, and the farmer didn't want to tear up his hayfield by pulling the trailer out with his tractor until the ground is frozen again. It will freeze tonight, so the llama is camping in the trailer until early tomorrow morning. The vet said he'll be fine; he's got food, water, and the stock trailer is roomy. I don't like leaving him out there alone, especially within reach of crazy Skyla (see previous blogs) whom I can just see opening the trailer door to sing to him or bring him bagels or something. So help me God, if she lets this llama escape... I did call her to warn her NOT to open the trailer door. She reacted defensively to the whole thing, but did promise not to interfere. Becky and Erin advised me to lock the trailer. It might be a good idea, especially considering her previous lies... (again, see older blog posts)
The vet told us that the llama is large for a llama, gelded (yay!!) and probably isn't very old-- more than five, but less than ancient is the best guess he had. (Apparently, llamas can't be aged by their teeth as well as horses and deer can.) Since llamas live about 20-25 years, this poor guy should be able to enjoy a much nicer life for a good long while-- though nothing will make up for the neglect he's suffered. I'm still not sure I want to keep him permanently myself, but I guarantee he will have a good home for life no matter what. If he gets another owner besides me, you can be sure I will be triple-checking references beforehand. First things first: cleaning him up, gentling him and making sure he's healthy.
Oh, and he's going to need a name. An unreliable source (Skyla) claimed that his name might once have been "Morris." That's not fitting for a big, tough survivor like him! He doesn't need a macho name, but he does need one that reflects his will to live, and his bravery. Suggestions?
Oh, and p.s. apparently other Hispanics are keeping horses at the same farm, and possibly racing them at an underground racetrack near Jefferson. Has anyone heard anything about this?! These are the same horses I called animal control about (they did nothing).
More pictures from the llama saga:
|Waiting for the tranquilizer to work.|
|A bag of llama poop, left by Skyla, who was convinced that the llama wouldn't poop without seeing poop nearby.|
|The vet and llama edge ever close to the manure pit. Uh oh!|
|Erin helps try to lasso the llama on the very edge of the shit pond. Ewww.|
|Finally got him!|
|First time petting him. Check out those burrs!|
|Llama's very first toenail trim. A few were badly twisted and overgrown.|