- Hiring a roping cowboy and horse team to rope it and tie it
- Hiring someone with working dogs to herd it
- Trying to put some kind of sedative in the llama's food
Roping a llama only works if you rope a leg-- their skinny chicken necks are apparently too delicate to handle a lasso. And after you rope it using this much harder tactic, you then have a struggling llama to deal with. Dogs might work if we had some kind of corral-- but I doubt that even the best working dogs can forcefully herd an unwilling llama straight into a stock trailer. Finally, oral sedatives taste disgusting, unless they're so weak as to be practically useless-- so that was a no-go.
After playing phone tag with various vets across Wisconsin, I came round-about to a solution originally suggested by "Skyla" & crew: tranquilizer gun. (Well actually, they proposed that we might get the DNR to tranq the llama for free-- hah hah hah.) Anyway, I was referred to an older gentleman who earns substantial income acting as a sharpshooter, tranquilizing everything from donkeys to buffalo. However, he said that doing this is a tricky proposition, and he would only work with a certain vet.
Back on the phone, I eventually got ahold of this vet, who turned out to be Mike Edders of Lodi Veterinary. I love Lodi Vet (they take care of my horses). Mike said we probably wouldn't need a rifle; if he could get within 10-20 feet, he had a blowgun that would work. Blowgun?! Sweet! I set up a Saturday appointment immediately, asking him to vaccinate, deworm and check on the llama's wounds while it was sedated. Awesome-- not only could we catch the llama, it could have all the vet work done right then and there-- without having to wait weeks taming it first. After years of neglect, I'm sure the llama needs it ASAP. Mike estimated the cost would be $250-$350, depending on how long we were out there playing llama rodeo. It's a reasonable cost, though it hurts (my bank account is anemic, since my husband still isn't getting paid) but it's the right thing to do.
I called Skyla and left a message to inform her of the appointment, the cost, and asked to call up the farm boys and ask them to help pull the trailer out of the mud again. I also asked nicely whether she could chip in for the vet costs.
Skyla called back while I was at work and left me a message. She was shocked at the cost of the vet work and accused the vet of having "a heart of stone" and being greedy. I'm not sure, but she may have also accused me of inflating the costs in order to get more money from her to keep for myself. Here's a transcription of her message:
"Hi *NorthHorse* it's [Skyla] I got your message, my phone has been acting up... um, you said it was going to cost between $250 and $350... and yes I'd like to help out, but I'm confused... I thought our objective was to find someone who would do it 'pro bono,' for free, you know, with the heart of recovering this desperate animal that needs to be caretaked and new home and...has this guy got a heart of stone or something? Where he's just cutting you off a piece of his pie? I'm sure you've got good references from him...couldn't we just peck at his heart a little and get the cost down? I was hoping that since this was a rescue situation, desperate and humanitarian and stuff, he would, you know, get on board with that. I'm glad it's moving forward, but I'm a little confused."
Keep in mind that this same lady has been treating this "desperate animal" as a pet project to be taken up only after her lunch date with her daughter, walking her dog, etc etc etc. She's been delaying action for days, suggesting that moving the llama would be "traumatizing," and wanting to "make friends" with it before anything else. Originally, she even wanted to leave the llama "in the wild" since it was "fending so well for itself." Now all of a sudden it's a desperate situation?
I called Skyla back. She didn't answer, so I left another message. I very nicely explained that part of the cost was the costs of the drugs involved, which the vet couldn't change, and that while I agreed we would certainly ask the vet if he could knock a bit off the bill for charity's sake, vets have to make a living too. I asked her to please call the farmers and ask their permission about a Saturday appointment, and see if they would help me get the trailer out of the mud again.
Skyla called back while I was at work and left her shortest message ever: the answer was no. No, Saturday wouldn't work for the farmers, and Saturday wouldn't work for her either. Sorry, goodbye.
Hmmm....I called the farmers myself. Their names are Ryan and Jake, by the way; the same two young men that tried to help us catch the llama on Monday and got my truck unstuck the first time. Turns out, they're totally fine with the vet and I coming out Saturday. Ryan will be gone, but Jake is quite willing to hitch his tractor to the trailer and pull it out to the road for me.
Skyla lied in order to keep me from moving ahead with rescuing the llama. I think she wants to be in control of the situation.
Screw her then. I don't much care if Skyla's feelings are hurt. This is about the llama, not her. The sooner it receives proper food, water, shelter and vet care, the better. If I left things up to clueless-about-large-animals Skyla, that bimbo would be talking about spiritual healing in animals three months from now, while the llama dies of gangrene or something.
Though I am not going to call Skyla to tell her I'm moving ahead tomorrow, I am worried that she will show up anyway and cause a scene. She doesn't have any claim on the llama (it's my trailer, my vet, my farm, my money, and the farmers don't care) but I can see her getting upset at me/the vet/everyone in a crying hissy fit, or attempting to stop us, or following us back to my farm. Luckily, I've got backup; both Erin and Becky have agreed to help me again. What heroes! If anything does happen with Skyla, they may be able to help diffuse the situation. Or at least hold her down while the vet and I tranquilize her. (Just kidding.)
So that's it! We're on! I've taken vacation from work tomorrow, scraped the courtyard, gotten permission to borrow Dad's truck again, readied the gates and even got a lead on a nearby llama farmer for help and advice. In the morning, I'll be picking up some straw for bedding (the llama is going to have to stay locked in the barn until he's catchable) and maybe some feed to supplement the hay.
Becky's daughter is also coming along, and she says she's willing to take lots of pictures for me, so stay tuned for tomorrow's update!
P.S. Skyla has called me three times today. One of the things she wanted to tell me was that she thought she read that llamas don't like to poop where they haven't pooped before, so she filled a bag with llama poop and hung it in my trailer. Oooookaaaay....