Friday, July 10, 2009

Why do you have all these animals?

Why do you have all these animals?

John and I get asked this question often,along with other animal related questions. Most are easy to answer, ,but some even we have to ponder.

Do you ride your horses?

What do you do with a burro?
We feed him!

Don't you think three dogs are too many?
No-perhaps ten would be-if they were all the size of Nahkohee (100lbs)!

Do you let your cats in the house?
We try not to let them out of the house!

Why do you have a llama and alpaca?

Hmmm that animal question is more difficult. We don't raise them for their fleece. Although some people are able to earn money for the alpaca fleece which is incrdibly soft and not scratchy like wool. Other love llama fleece for felting hats or bags. .

We do not show them at fairs or competitions, but we know people who do . Other owners we know spend much of their time trucking their critters to win blue ribbons or best of show. But our animals don't like leaving the ranch,nor does my husband John! I was informed that if Skippy , my 3 year old alpaca was in Peru, he would have been a rug a year ago, and Desi, my llama would be ever so humiliated to trot around a ring. He much prefers to chase after our donkey on forty acres.

Originally I thought having a llama would be the ideal answer for backpacking into the wilderness. About ten years I spent several days having two llamas carry my wine, luggage and small guitar to a lake ringed by wildflowers in the Rocky Mountains. I only carried my water trail mix and camera. These were wonder animals. They pooped ver y neatly off the trail, only leaving raisinettes . They nibbled the grass when we stopped for the night and were very satisified with llama kibble for deserts and snack that they lso carried in a small bag. They didnt spit, except at a racoon which they also alerted us when they screamed at our small campground intruder. Best of all my back didnt hurt from carrying a fifty pound pack.

So when Desi the llama was rescued and offered to us, shortly after we retired to Arizona -I quickly bought "Camelids for Dummies". Learning that it is never good to have just one camelid and with no camels or other llamas coming our way we accepted Skippy, the inquisitive doe eyed alpaca as a companion for Desi.

We soon learned that having cameli (the genus of camels, alapcas, and llamas) are much like having cats. They do not always come when called. Treats are sometimes desired and sometimes Desi and Skippy act like they are being posioned when offerd a carrot or apple or slice of watermelon. I have discovered, however if I leave it in their dinner dish it always disappears, but never when I am watching. They also scream and wiggle and run away if they even think I might have a brush in my hand! They also do not want to be ridden and do not reallyenjoy it if i put on a halter or leash.

It has been two years and we have not gone backpacking with or without or llama and alpaca. I can not really blame it on the animals. It seems like too much trouble to head to the Chiricahuas or White Mountains to get away. We are away!
So what do we do with these creatures?

We spend our time watching our camelids. Whether it is Desi peering through the windows as we watch his antics outside,or laughing as Skippy dances while being sprayed with water while filling the horse trough, or laughing as both camelids take turns at chasing the dogs,we are amused. When Skippy puts his nose to the ground to check out a fluttering butterfly and Desi prances to the fence and stares at the cows on the other side , we have to watch too.

Our animals are our entertainment. We do not go to concerts, or movies, or sporting events. We
have our coffee in the morning and watch our animal interactions. In the evening we have a glass of wine , view the glorious Arizona sunset and watch our animals so more .
This is why we have all these animals.