Llamas at Lost Creek Annex!
ILR # 116077
female b. 7-8-1992
Happy Valleys Ajax x Happy Valleys Angel
click on the photo to see more pictures of Miaka on flickr®
ILR # 115747
female b. 8-1-1993
Jericoe x OM Willow Tree
click on the photo to see more pictures of Summer on flickr®
ILR # 274897
female b. 12-27-2007
click on the photo to see more pictures of Kahlotus on flickr®
Anne has been our friend since 1979 and may as well be family, and so of course her llamas are family, too. Anne did our farm sitting for many years until increasing travel for her job made that essentially impossible; Anne also boarded her first llama, Masked Bandit, with us until his death at age 21.
Anne took a great deal of time to prepare for having llamas on her own property (unlike so many people who jump first and regret much ... both soon and long afterwards) ... even though she knew right away that she just had to call her acreage "Lost Creek Annex" (Anne is an incurable punster). Anne also (being wise) asked us to set her up with two or three llamas on a trial basis so she could be sure she and the llamas were all compatible with each other and the situation. Anne knows herself pretty well and wanted to care for one or more special needs llamas, but also wanted at least one (preferrably two) llamas capable of joining her for regular walks and up for moderate hiking when the weather is suitable; for the latter, the llama(s) would need to happily self-load in her Toyota van (near-twin to Gwen's Trustyvan). We're pretty good at matching up animals, so it was not a surprise that the "trial period" ended with all three llamas staying at Lost Creek Annex with Anne.
Lost Creek Annex was set up (with extensive consultation from us) to provide exceptionally flexible accomodations and grazing for a small group of llamas despite potentially very different individual needs. For instance, each llama has her own private stall for the daily supplemental feeding times (so nobody has to be tied up to eat, yet each gets her own portions according to her requirements) and all llamas are weighed and monitored regularly. It's a very special blend of our vast experience accumulated over many years with many, many llamas and Anne's personal one-on-one attention and dedication to applying that experience with a special brand of allowing individual personalities to "be themselves" in the many ways that promote mental and emotional health that results in the best possible care for each llama. Really, we are envious!
Best of all, we get to visit special llama friends Miaka, Summer, and Kahlotus frequently — whenever we visit Anne, who lives a short three miles away from us!
Miaka came to us with Zorra, with the understanding that she was to be suitably rehomed. Unfortunately, Miaka sustained a deep ligament hip injury shortly after her arrival here. Initial introduction periods are always risky, and Miaka also was not used to such a large herd (over time, we could see that it stressed her to be with so many other llamas, even though other llamas think a herd of a dozen is not big enough!). Regardless, we felt awful about it, and it was even more tragic because it reduced her placement possibilities to almost none. Although Miaka is permanently lame, she has blossomed at Anne's and thinks a herd of three is perfect for her. What's really great is that Anne is fascinated by Miaka's perspective on the world — and so Miaka finally has someone who appreciates her as being very special, not just another llama.
Summer came to us with her best friend Dallys and Dallys's daughter Peanut. We had admired Summer since we first knew her and expected her to remain here forever, but after Dallys's unexpected death, Summer returned to her previous behaviors of segretating herself from the main herd and eating only the minimum amount necessary to survive; even Peanut (whom she'd known for the previous three years) was of no interest to her. As much as we liked Summer, we had to put her health and her mental wellbeing first ... and that meant admitting our place really wasn't suitable for her, especially as age would soon cause her metabolism to change and require even more food. Like Princessa, we were committed to Summer's care for life, and very much hated facing the truth that we could not provide her with what she needed. Also like Princessa, we were not comfortable trusting Summer's wellbeing to anyone except our friend Anne, who not only would never think of breeding Summer, but whose facilities allow Summer's weight to be monitored and feed adjusted before there's any chance of a problem being missed and snowballing. Lost Creek Annex also has much more grazing available (other llamas can hog hay, but not whole pastures!)
Coincidentally, Summer is also related to Anne's first gelding, Bandit. Almost eerily like Bandit, Summer is quite introverted, keeps her own counsel and doesn't commit to relationships quickly. It's a very good thing for Summer that she's with Anne, because Anne understands her issues and can accomodate them instead of (like so many people) being disgusted because Summer can't be someone she isn't and never will be. Summer still hangs back and doesn't mingle too closely, but her weight is finally what it should be, and she is warming up to both Anne and her two llama pasturemates ... at her speed. Better still for both Anne and Summer, she is getting many more interesting outings than she ever would have gotten here — a great situation because Summer will be quite capable of hiking for many years yet. Summer has the prior packing training and trail experience Anne had wanted, and yet Summer is not up to the strenuous packing that we undertake ourselves (also like Bandit, Summer's gaits are average and her rear end lacks power).
Kahlotus, bred by us, is one of those "close but not quite good enough" females that should not be making more llamas — her coat is too dense to shed well, and her size, although probably not hereditary, would definitely place environmental limits on the size of any offspring. Solely because of her small size, Kahlotus's own career options as a packer were limited — less by her size per se (she can handle average recreational packing just fine), and more by humans' perceptions of what that means (simplistic-minded shoppers love "big"). Obviously those perceptual limitations would apply to theoretical offspring as well, so we wanted to be sure "offspring" remained strictly theoretical ... however, spaying still wouldn't solve Kahlotus's own problems trying to beat that prejudice.
After Princessa's death, Anne and Summer encountered a serious barrier to their outings — Miaka can't abide being left by herself in the pasture — another llama was needed. We selected Kahlotus for a trial at Anne's. We knew Kahlotus could solve the "need one more llama" problem, but also felt that it would be wise to give Summer a herd-management understudy, as well as providing Anne with another sound, pack-capable friend so Summer can retire comfortably when the time comes (hopefully that's not for a while yet, but we know it's inevitable).
Kahlotus fit right in, and we could not design a better home for her — the smaller herd situation brings out Kahlotus's personality and potential, and Anne has no unfounded hangups about Kahlotus's small size, so Kahlotus can look forward to a lifetime of walks, dayhikes, and just plain fun ... as well as being fully appreciated! As a younger llama, Kahlotus will give Anne many, many years of both enjoyment and assistance with compromised and retiree llamas who may join the herd at Lost Creek Annex in the future. And, although nobody can equal Princessa, cousin Kahlotus certainly has an ample supply of energy and curiosity — two "Princessa specialties" we all miss.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ gone, but not forgotten ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
ILR # 91094
female b. 7-31-1991 ... d. 1-20-2012
Verdad x Lacy Kay Dalton
click on the photo to see more pictures of Princessa on flickr®
After Princessa lost her good eye to an infection (the other had a scar from the massive corneal abrasion she had when we rescued her; the scar blocked about 25% of that eye's vision), we struggled to find a place for her to fit in. She was much too vulnerable in the larger female herd, and even prone to getting "greened" for inadvertant blind transgressions in the smaller maternity/retirement female herd. Worse still, Princessa was still super-active and drove the maternity/retirement females crazy. Still, we really hated the thought of allowing Princessa out of our care ... as well as losing out on her amusing side. Lost Creek Annex was the only place we were comfortable sending Princessa, and it worked out perfectly. At Anne's, Princessa's energy and antics were much appreciated, and she only had two other llamas to keep track of. Although her limited eyesight made walking and hiking with her a very different experience than with a fully-sighted llama, Anne reported that she and Princessa definitely enjoyed their outings together. Even though we missed seeing Princessa's creativity on a daily basis, we did have the next best thing — we could stop at Anne's to get a "Princessa fix" anytime we want.
In January of 2012, Princessa experienced a sudden cascade of serious health issues, and when initial treatment proved no solutions would be forthcoming, she was humanely euthanised. We were all sorry to lose her. There was only one Princessa.