Maggie and Lacy
Magnolia and Lacy Kay Dalton
ILR # 53899 and ILR # 57085
Maggie: female b. 1-27-1985 ... d. 9-9-2005
Lacy: female b. 10-29-1987 ... d. 3-9-2007
Mother and daughter were together for life, and so we've put them together here, too.
Lacy was Maggie's first offspring, and they lived together on the ranch where Lacy was born, near Mt. Lassen in CA, until late 2002 when we took them in as part of a larger group of llamas that needed rehoming. Their owner had been struggling for years with metastasized breast cancer, and although conflicted because reality didn't agree with her (like, having to give up her llamas even though she hadn't seen them for five years), she ultimately decided she was happy to be able to place both llamas together.
Lacy was doubly stunted, being first-born of her immaturely-bred mother and then bred much too soon herself. Maggie looked slightly short-legged (none of her male relatives or later-born offspring shared this disproportion, just as we have seen in many other situations of immaturely bred females), and poor Lacy looked just like a sawed-off runt (which in fact she was).
Fortunately this practice has now been exposed as being highly damaging, and the scare-rhetoric of "needing to breed females young or risking infertility" has also been resoundingly disproven (in no small part by this farm). Sure, the investment breeders still push what's good for finances and (pardon the pun) screw the llamas, but at least those who truly care about their llamas can now make fully informed, better choices — lifelong stunting like that suffered by Maggie, Lacy, and Lacy's firstborn Cappuccino is thankfully much rarer these days (and a quick trip through the registry database will reveal the — ahem — jerks who continue breeding immature females so those of us who care can choose not to enable them).
Maggie was an adventurer, and liked to climb — tree trunks, fences and (we were informed) stairs! Maggie marched to her own drummer and although she was occasionally exasperating, we largely enjoyed her antics and take on life. We also enjoyed these traits as handed down to granddaughter Princessa. Maggie definitely appreciated the new lease on life that she recieved from our typical geriatric supplements, which include MSM and glucosamine.
Lacy was just about the sweetest llama you could imagine, enjoying human attention seemingly endlessly, but never the least bit pushy or demanding. Lacy particularly enjoyed full-body "scritchins," even after we took care of the lice problem she arrived with. Lacy's son Cappuccino shares Lacy's charisma, self-control, and love of "scritchins", but unlike mom (in part because he's male), he would run off all the potential competition before indulging. Now Cappuccino has his own pasture, sans competition.
Both Maggie and Lacy were trained to lead with an ATV ... in other words, by the use of irresistable force. They both understood the concept of leading very well and were comfortable going anywhere with us, but despite those visible results, the technique has severe consequences — permanent cervical vertebral damage and premature death. Maggie and Lacy's owner was in fact incensed at the indignity of the practice and put a stop to it, (fortunately!) before Cappuccino was born. (We don't know if the ATV "training" was originated by her then-trainer or her then-business partner, but both of them also soon hit the road.) Unfortunately for Maggie and Lacy, damage had already been done.
Maggie had some cervical vertebrae that would click and pop in and out of place (rather like Denali, whom we believe had a similar "training" history). One day the weakened ligaments finally (and abruptly) gave way, damaging the nerve leading to one of Maggie's front legs (identical to what happened to Denali), and she could not longer get up — a huge insult to her independent soul. Already knowing that surgical repair was not an option for the condition, we had the vet out to humanely euthanize Maggie, who was otherwise healthy as the proverbial ox and should have had another 5-7 years of fun and naughtiness ahead of her.
Lacy's neck damage took a different course. Her damaged vertebrae fused together one by one — C4/C5, C5/C6, and C6/7 — until she could no longer hold her neck any direction other than vertically, which made getting up and down increasingly difficult. The extra strain on the remaining motile vertebrae also completely destroyed all disc material between C3 and C4. Lacy's final days, sadly, were full of pain and suffering. Her cheery disposition unfortunately did not allow us to recognize the extent and source of her pain sooner. We had Lacy humanely euthanized at only 19 years of age (pure Classic gene pool llamas, like Lacy, live an average of 26+ years). OSU-VTH confirmed that the ONLY compromise to Lacy's body was in her neck vertebrae; all other organs and systems were healthy and normal.
Needless to say, although we had advocated against forcible lead training for any llamas in the past, we are even less tolerant of those who engage in such practices today ... particularly as we ourselves age and the foolishness of our youths comes back to haunt our own bodies. Although we can't condemn those who had no other information back in the late 70s and early to mid 80s — before internet, and before llamas and information about them were commonly available — taking any such "shortcut" now is completely unnecessary and inexcuseable.
Despite our sadness and disgust at the way Lacy and Maggie's lives ended, we truly enjoyed getting to know them for the short time they were here. We also greatly appreciate the knowledge we gained from them, and the genetic legacy they have left us through Cappuccino's only offspring, Lost Creek Troubadour.
Maggie's registered name was "Magnolia", which is a white-flowered tree.
Lacy's registered name was "Lacy Kay Dalton", apparently a play on the name of a country singer (Lacy J Dalton), and NOT the meaning intended by her co-owner/breeder, who (upon purchasing full ownership of Lacy for a sum that can only be described as both extreme emotional blackmail AND "standard operating procedure" within the llama biz) bestowed all of Lacy's subsequent female offspring with "lace" names ... Princessa, Ruffles, and Chantilly (all of whom we re-homed for her).