Daily challenges are the staple foods of personal growth; we need to be challenged to grow and just like plants, if we’re not growing then we are dying. Certainly the challenges have come thick and fast for Llamas in the Raw Sanctuary recently. Rescuing abandonedand unwanted camelids is definitely challenging, but taking on severely ill animals is another.
Mooncrystal, affectionately known as ‘Moonie,’ is a beautiful 21 year old llama, living in the care of a friend. A month ago she collapsed in a flooded area of a secluded portion of a field and probably laid in the cold water for several hours before one of the farm dogs brought her to K’s attention. After being dried off and lodged in a stall, she seemed to recover slightly and tried to graze with the rest of the herd. However, she collapsed again and this time, appeared to be paralyzed along her right side. Work commitments meant that K didn’t have the time to spend monitoring or caring for Moonie and so she came to join our motley crew. Parked near the house, in one of our mobile, A-frame shelters, we could keep a close eye on her, as well as clean her regularly and keep up with her constant demand for fresh cut grass and dandelions from the fields and garden.
Moonie has absorbed a lot of our time over the past month, not only massaging her legs and forcing her to exercise, whilst on her side, padding and bandaging pressure points to alleviate the inevitable ‘bed sores,’ but also studying her closely to identify the best homeopathic solution to her dis-ease. To begin with she was listless and weary, but shehas become increasingly alert and active and over the last couple of days has demonstrated a strong desire to stand up by herself. This is a huge break-though from a homeopathic point of view. Restoring mental strength and balance is key to recovery. The paralysis has also mostly completely dissipated, leaving only a muscular contracture in her front leg. Yesterday, six weeks after her initial fall and wearing an ankle support made from an old resin leg cast, (made for one of our girls after a knee operation, a few years ago), Moonie made three separate forays into the field. Not far! …only a matter of yards each time, and with assistance from Lynne and I, using a specially adapted canvas sling. Nevertheless, thanks to the wonders of homeopathy, Moonie was actually walking again and slowly learning to trust her legs. There’s a long way to go yet and perambulating a big llama is time-consuming and strenuous work, but we will walk her everyday now until she can rejoin her herd.
Mooncrystal is just one of thirteen new additions to the herd, not all severely ill, thankfully, but still requiring much time and energy, especially last week, which brought torrential rain to the region. Our small community was cut off at one point, when the road was washed out in a couple of places. Our own creek selected a new (and improved) path to the river and even laid several inches of sand and gravel along a section of one of our forest trails. The new herd members though, had already been sheared and they suffered terribly from the wet and cold. A gastric chill spread through the herd causing diarrhea, which necessitated each animal being treated individually, once again with homeopathy. Feeding hay encouraged some of them to stay in the barn, but most of our own llama herdpreferred to be outside. This year we have not sheared our animals, since we are changing over to a special grooming technique, which removes the under coat and leaves the protective guard hair in place. Llamas and alpacas suffer from heat, cold and insects after they have been sheared, so leaving them with their long guard hair provides them with a natural umbrella. I will be writing about that in much more detail at a later date!
A few days later though, the sun is shining, the grass is greener and the road is almost repaired. Hopefully, we can get back to normal, since the orders for mega knitting needles are streaming in and a thousand and one tasks that have been on hold for the last month are screaming for attention ….like planting the garden! Eeek! It’s June 11th already!
On top of all of this we are still urgently seeking a larger property and premises suitable to house Llamas in the Raw Camelid Sanctuary, as well as to run the fibre arts workshops, which we have really missed. Rest assured, we are working hard on finding the ideal place …and if you will permit me a quick sales pitch: if you are looking for 21 acres in the delightful community of Kingfisher in North Okanagan …let us know!