Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Dilly of a DeLLama...

I had intended on writing yesterday between appointments and meetings, but the day rushed by so quickly and to be completely candid, I just could not bring myself to do it. I was glad of the business of the day, which had me driving all over creation and the immediate need of thoroughly cleaning both our home and the various critter homes residing therein. That didn't stop the tears from escaping in the car as I drove from one appointment to the next, but at least the drives were long enough to get me sorted and back into some semblance of capability to carry out my work. I know how foolish that seems. I understand that loss is sometimes part of this life we are building, but it doesn't make it any easier for me. And, in some ways, I hope it never gets easier for me. At least, I feel and I care, really care about the lives entrusted to us- for however short a time that might be.

So, wide awake (and wishing I were not) at 6 am, I give you the tale of loading an angry llama into a horse trailer. Go ahead and laugh at us. I did as I was retelling it to one of my friends. It is good to find the humor in things, when you can. To set the stage, you must understand, that Dilly had progressed over the past week to the point where the moment he saw Sean, the ears went back and the hissing began. If that was not a proper deterrent to Sean's continued existence, Dilly began charging at the fencing. Sean, determined to win Dilly over, at least to the point where he was not in peril providing fresh water to the goats in the pasture, offered Dilly some grain each time he approached. Dilly, being rather practical, accepted this offering so as to have more ammunition with which to spit at the offending infidel, who was breaching his herd's territory. We had made arrangements to meet Mr. Farmer to return Dilly to his care. The only question left was, how do you load a 350 pound beast, who wants nothing more than to castrate you on the spot, into a trailer 100 feet outside his enclosure... without leaving some necessary bits of your anatomy behind?

Sean's assurance of "Sonja, stay inside this morning. I have a plan." did nothing to ease my mind. But, I cared for some chores around the house while I waited to see what Sean would do. As for what he did do, I don't know in detail. I understand there was some attempt at Sean's haltering Dilly which ended with Sean's jeans being bitten and Dilly remaining halter-free. On to plan B.

Plan B came to me Sunday night while I was trying to get some sleep and instead spent hours agonizing over our decision and praying. I thought if we could slide the handle end of a dog lead onto a rope and attach the clip to Dilly's collar, we could tie the ends of the rope to the stall and to the inside of the horse trailer. With a bucket of grain for bait, Dilly might walk of his own volition into the trailer. The only part I could not work out was how to get the gate opened without the loss of life or limb to anyone. Sean liked plan B and modified it into plan C.

Plan C was this:
Sean tied a dog leash to a rope and secured the rope to the inside of the horse trailer. I grabbed a scoop of grain and Sean and I approached the paddock gate. While I cooed at Dilly and fed him very, verrrry slowly to distract him, Sean clipped the dog leash to Dilly's collar. This took a few tries, but finally succeeded in tethering Dilly to the horse trailer. I scooped more grain for the goats to keep them occupied and to lessen the probability of their escape when the gate was opened. Sean ran inside to grab a pillow case from the linen closet. (Horses quiet markedly when their eyes are covered; it is how you can get a spooked horse out of danger. Sean thought it was worth a try.) I grabbed the bucket of Dilly's grain and ran to the trailer to untie the rope and prepare myself to start pulling on it at Sean's signal. Sean took advantage of Dilly's willingness to shove his face into Sean's space to bag himself a llama's head and deftly unbolted the gate. The blind folding of the llama did not have the desired effect in that Dilly panicked and began screaming from inside the pillow case and thrashing his head to and fro to remove the offending bag. In his distress, he smacked his mouth into one of the wooden posts! It did make it nearly impossible for Dilly to bite Sean and sufficiently distracted Dilly's attention so that Sean could help lead him into the trailer. Once inside, Sean tied off the lead rope to the trailer, making sure it was long enough so Dilly could lie down, but not so long that he would tangle his legs. Then, Sean tugged on the end of the case, removing it and himself from the trailer all at once. Sean added a little hay for Dilly to eat and closed and secured the door and all was done.

I took a minute to hyperventilate with giddy relief. Sean stood grinning from ear to ear, looking pleased at his plan's success. Then, all seven goats chose to celebrate with us by escaping the pasture through the still opened gate, to see what we were doing. Jasmine decided she did not want to be left behind and proceeded to head for the opening in her fencing, too. Sean headed to stop Jasmine. I grabbed the grain scoop and lured Pepper, Leah, Rachel & Jedi back into the gate. Sean led Ellie back to her pasture with Asher and Abigail following behind.

And, that was it. Sean drove Dilly to meet Mr. Farmer and I went to work to worry and fret and cry over whether or not we were doing the right thing. I will let Sean describe the reuniting of Mr. Farmer and Dilly, but I can tell you that Sean thought Dilly acted very pleased to see his human's return. We don't know if Mr. Farmer auctioned Dilly yesterday or if he returned home with him. We asked Mr. Farmer to call us to let us know what happened. I really need to hear that Dilly is safe and happy and in a good situation so that I can stop worrying about it. I hope he does call.

No pictures, no video of this adventure. I was too busy to stop for footage. I do have some video I took last night of the chicks, ducklings, and goslings, which I will upload and post later today. For now, I need to get out of this bed and on to work!

More rain in the forecast. Hope you all stay dry!
Sonja ♥

1 comment:

  1. I understand your concern for doing the right thing. I have no doubt in my mind that ya'll did the right thing for Dilly, your family and your farm. He was not the right fit, and I feel that Mr. Farmer was not forth coming with details of his personality, had you known, Dilly wouldn't have left his property. Please don't stress!