Drive through the suburbs of any city and you will encounter many small homesteads engulfed by the unrelenting, fungal growth of veterinary homoeopathhousing developments and commercial sprawl.  The dreams of the original homesteaders have often, long since faded away, along with the people who carved a living for themselves out of the wilderness, and in those rail-fenced compounds settles a new breed of Man, the city worker, desperate to earn a meaningful income, while at the same time responding to a basal urge to live alongside Mother Nature.  Among these modern havens you will find dotted in ones and twos, countless horses and donkeys in small, grassless corrals; in others a few sheep and goats and the occasional llama or alpaca, reaching for life beyond the fenced limits.  It is predominantly this type of environment to which The Llama Sanctuary is called to collect some hapless creature abandoned to a fate unknown, when the occupants flee the rubble of a debt-shrouded life.  Thankfully, Georgie didn’t fall into that category.
Not all llamas should be shorn.  Classic or Ccara llamas often do not grow fiber fast enough to recover in time for winter.
Georgie llama arrives in snow wearing coat
Georgie joins the herd of ‘voluntary surrenders’; those cases where the keepers, with or without a nudge, discover that they can no longer provide the degree of care they know should be provided or are performing their spiritual duty of care before the hard times arrive.  Oftentimes, it is illness or the death of the keeper that leaves the animals with an uncertain future and where The Sanctuary can be of great service.  But there are countless other life events that arise, whereby the keeper finds himself with an urgent need to rehome a long-time camelid companion.  Once in a while the SPCA will be required to seize an ill-treated animal and having no llama care facility of their own, will turn to The Llama Sanctuary for assistance.

Georgie’s first taste of freedom as he enjoys a romp in the forest with his new friends

One thing we can all be certain of is that life is going to happen to us.  You can hide in a dark closet, but be sure that life will still find you.  Keep the oars of life firmly in hand and you have a better chance of steering life in the direction you want it to go.  Cover your eyes and ears and you will be carried along with the current.  The problem with allowing yourself to drift on the current is that it’s usually destined for the waterfall. winter icicles at The Llama Sanctuary Direct your life and your story is much more likely to have a happy ending and that also goes for the pets and animals that you have chosen to care for.  Think ahead to where they will end up if something happens to you. Yes, the SPCA, the horse rescue center, the donkey refuge or the llama sanctuary will be there to pick up the pieces.  Why not pay it forward now and contribute in some meaningful way to one of the thousands of animal sanctuaries established around the world?  It’s not just money that’s needed (although money is always in short supply) but donating essential things like water bowls and buckets, tools and tarpaulins, fence posts and gates, barrows and shovels and blankets and bedding and a myriad other things that it takes to provide care for a large number of animals of any kind.  Dependable hands of volunteers are also welcomed!
It always seems like The Llama Sanctuary is asking for help, but that’s because it’s true.  Monetary outgoings constantly exceed receipts.  Somehow, we have to provide enough to feed forty mouths (including our own).  It’s humbling to write this and hold out my hat for a few more coins; it feels unnerving, like not being in control.  But we are in control, because we have committed to a direction.  That direction involves acquiring a lot more land in order to provide a much better service for a great many more animals, as well as people.
We can’t take anything with us when we die, so Lynne and I have already taken the steps to put everything into trust, so it will always be there for The Llama Sanctuary, with or without us.  Perhaps if we all grasped the simple fact that none of this belongs to us anyway; that we are simply temporary trustees of this planet, then we might consider what we could do with it in order that it provides maximum benefit to the beneficiaries.  Would you put land into trust to help The Sanctuary to grow and provide better care in the future?  We should love to hear from you if you would.
Keep a firm grip on those oars this coming year!