This morning I walked up the lane to the llama field to feed the animals. Kaylee, our beagle/collie mix followed me up. Well, she walked with me part of the way and then took off through the woods after a squirrel. I got up fairly late today, and the sun was already blazing up at the field. I gave the llamas grain and then filled up their water- bucket which was empty again. Kaylee soon joined me in the field, her pink tongue hanging half-way to the ground.
Hot and panting, she stayed near me as I watched the water bucket filling up. I was glad, I didn’t need any drama between her and Cadbury, our small chocolately-brown llama. Kaylee has had a problem with Cadbury since the day he kicked my mother while she was clipping his toes. Kaylee promptly attacked him thinking she needed to protect Mom, and has pretty much disliked Cadbury since. He isn’t too fond of her either as one might expect, but generally tries to ignore her.
We don’t have any hay left, and our field is basically sand, so I decided to tie the llamas out in the grass in front of the field. Once I twisted the tethers, which look like giant screws with a metal triangle at the top, into the ground, I went to halter the llamas bring them out. The problems began when I went to halter Cadbury, who was in the stall with Josephine. Kaylee darted into the stall and started chasing him. The two llamas naturally started freaking out! Believe me, being stuck in a stall with two llamas that crashing around because of the toothed terror coming after them, is not fun! I managed to not get kicked or plastered against the wall by either of them, grabbed Kaylee and dragged her out of the pen and out of the field. Tying her to a tree, I went back to halter Cadbury and then Ranger. Once I had them tethered and happily munching grass, I turned on the hose-pipe (to use as a dog deterent) and untied Kaylee.
She seemed chagrined and went to lie down in the shade under the tractor. I messed around for about 15 minutes trying to find a halter that would fit Josephine, who is our biggest llama, and towers over me. I finally had to admit defeat, and decided to just throw her the remaining scraps of hay, and cut some of the tall grass down that remained around the shed and tractor. Suddenly, I realized that Kaylee had wandered out from under the tractor, and just as I was calling her, decided to go after Cadbury’s back feet. He naturally started jumping around, kicking at her, trying to get away, and managed to wrap the lead rope around his front leg. I ran and grabbed the hose, turning it on spray and pointing it at her. She quickly darted away, ears down. I grabbed Cadbury to hold him still, got spat on in the process and finally managed to grab Kaylee’s collar as she approached again.
Locking her in the shed I went back to try and detangle the rope. I was scared that he might have broken his foot from the way he was holding it. Fortunately he let me get near him, but when I lifted his leg to try and unwrap the lead, he leaned all of his weight on me so that I couldn’t maneuver to get the rope off. The quickest solution seemed to be to unclip the lead off his halter, unwrap it and then re-clip it. It was a good plan, till he jerked his head and the clip out of my hand just before I reattached the rope. Fortunately he only ran to where Ranger was and began to quietly graze. It seems the leg is fine. I was able to walk up to him, reattach the rope, and tether him again.
Phew. I was shaking a bit from adrenaline and possibly from having the weight of a three hundred pound llama leaning on me. I threw some more grass in the field, let the stupid dog out of the shed, checked that the gate to the llama field was latched and then walked back to the house. I hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.
When I got home and tried to eat an apple, I realized that my lip was starting to hurt a bit and feel numb, as though I’d just got a shot of novacaine from the dentist. Feeling my face with my fingers I discovered my chin and lower lip was swelling. I had my sister look at it, and she confirmed that it looked like I had been stung by a bee. With all the excitement I hadn’t even noticed. What a morning!
PS. You will be glad to know that I took a shower to get the llama spit out of my hair. Also from now on when Kaylee comes with me to the llama field, she will be wearing a leash.
PPS. Llamas do not normally spit on people, only when they are really stressed (or protecting their young). I would say getting chased by a dog counts as a stressful situation. Also to be fair, I think Cadbury was aiming at Kaylee, I just happened to be in the way.