Who knows where Ollie came from -- in any
case, he ended up in the hands of people who intended to get
rich with emus. Somehow, they also ended up with Ollie. When
the unscrupulous, money-hungry owners (who were later convicted
for drowning their children -- no kidding!) moved, Ollie and
the emus temporarily stayed behind. The new house owners agreed
to take Ollie in payment for taking care of the emus. But they
hoped to sell Ollie and, funny thing, nobody seems to want untrained
llamas in this area.
A year went by and Ollie's paddock was eaten
down and grew only mud. He was provided hay and a tarp for shelter,
but he had no other animals to keep him company. We were called
to trim his toenails and deworm him. Upon our arrival, we found
that one of the couples' parents would be taking Ollie that afternoon
to live with his sheep. We pried Ollie's matted tail away from
his matted legs and informed them that putting an intact male
llama with sheep would likely result in dead and injured ewes.
To make a long story short, Ollie was delivered to our house
that day instead.
Ollie's coat was a disgusting, matted, felted,
smelly mess. His incisors were badly overgrown, a combination
of neglect and a genetic trait typically found in alpacas. And
he had a full set of very sharp fighting teeth. We made a vet
appointment right away.
After Ollie's castration, we turned him out
into a small paddock with two other llamas. Ollie proved to be
a scrapper, and it took nigh unto two months before screaming
and slamming matches were the exception rather than the rule.
This is a common problem with male llamas who have skipped the
teenage stage of their llama socialization, and the only successful
way to deal with it is to let them make up for lost time and
learn that they really aren't unchallenged kings of the world.
Ollie's coat was in such bad condition that
we had no choice but to shear, and shear we did -- as soon as
the April showers seemed to warm up a bit. After some assessment,
we found that Ollie had very little rehab to work through, although
his prior training had some gaps in it. We discovered that he
liked children, walks, and obstacles. The following spring, Ollie
went to a small schooling show.
Ollie quickly caught on that performance classes
can be a lot of fun. His happy demeanor attracted a lot of attention
and one of the onlookers was considering getting a third llama.
That summer, Ollie worked with his future owner and really became
attached to her. The pair accompanied Waldo and Gwen to the Josephine
County Fair, and Ollie even brought home a few ribbons. Soon
afterwards, Ollie went to join his chosen human and her two llamas
-- just a few miles down the road where we can see them as we
drive to and from work.
Ollie enjoys his new home and pasturemates,
and especially the extra attention. He also still likes the occasional
visit from his friend Gwen, judging by the monster hugs he bestows
on her. In June of 1997, Ollie competed in his first ALSA show
at Redmond, OR, where he thoroughly enjoyed himself and also
earned Reserve Champion Novice Performance Llama. Hooray for
Lucky Ollie before . . . . . . . .................... . . and
after ! ....................................
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