I heard people saying; “home is where the heart is” and if I understand that correctly, my home is in my herd and living on the ranch not far from my mom! If you keep special memories or friends in your heart, you are always home. One morning I woke early, chest bumped my best buddy, Nico and got on to a normal alpaca day of grazing. Over the past few weeks, both Nico and I had really stayed close to Monty. Even though he was older, he didn’t mind us hanging around with him. Like I said before, he is a great guy and willing to teach us a lot. Our old pasture across the walkway had been empty since we moved over, but this morning I noticed 3 alpacas out there grazing in it. It didn’t take me long to realize, one of them was my mom! I could see her pretty, white face from several pastures away. I ran up to the fence and heard her humming to me. I almost started to cry, but held the tears back. I didn’t want to have the big boys to see me cry! I tried to act cool and she saw me, and we exchanged smiles. It was so great to see her. I had wondered if she knew that I was promoted to the big boy herd? Maybe someone had told her? I hope she was proud of me! I knew she was on the other side of the ranch, but now I could see her and that made me feel good. She made me feel at home!
One morning, the entire herd was going through our drills. The older boys were training us on how to sound an alert in case of danger. You see all alpacas have a loud warning call we can do to alert the herd if an intruder is trying to enter our pasture. To be a real leader, we need to sound loud and make sure all the herds could hear it across the ranch. I was working on my tone and volume. I really think I was getting better and hoping I could pass the test. Well today our training was interrupted by people with halters. I immediately thought this might be part of the training. As alpacas, our biggest defense is to form a herd. We had been practicing our positions and where to run in case of danger. If this was a drill, I think we were ready. The people first went to Monty and haltered him. He was a real pro walking on a halter, so maybe this was some sort of drill. Next, they came for Nico and me. The others in the herd stood firm and we were walked out of the pasture. Maybe this wasn’t part of a drill after all? Nico and I followed Monty’s lead and soon the 3 of us were in a trailer. After we entered, the people left so I asked Monty if he knew what was going on. He said he didn’t, but he wasn’t concerned. Maybe we were going to a show or something? A few minutes later, the trailer door opened and the site I saw almost took my breath away!
It was my mom, with her friend Anica and Penelope! There was a divider in the trailer, but I stuck my nose through it. I didn’t care if Nico or Monty saw me, I gave my mom a big kiss. She smiled and a few minutes later the trailer started moving. I felt a little sad, because Nico’s mom wasn’t there, but I know he was happy for me. The only other time I had been on a trailer is when we took my mom to the hospital. I asked her if she was sick again and said she no, she was fine. I smiled in relief and asked her if she knew where we were going. She didn’t and neither did Anica or Penelope. Anica was like my aunt. She had been with me and my mom when we lived with all the other moms. When the people would come to feed us, she was always there with us. She was a year older then my mom and was very knowledgeable. My mom had told me a story once when she was taken in a trailer to be on a TV show with a couple of her friends. It was a news show that was doing a story about the ranch and mom was one of the stars! Like Monty, her and Anica had been to shows in the past. They all talked about it and didn’t think we were going to a show. We were going real fast and it did remind me of the time we went to the hospital, but this time we didn’t drive as far. We started moving slower and we had to stand on our tippy toes to look out the window of the trailer. We could see a lot of trees and heard birds. The road got a little bumpy and before long we stopped. Everyone was humming trying to figure out where we were. Yes, I was a little scared, but felt safe because my mom and the others were there. Soon the door opened, and the sun was very bright, but the air spelled fresh.
We were greeted by the people that always came to feed us and everyone was smiling. Mom, Anica and Penelope were taken out first and brought to a pasture with a nice, little barn. I could barely see out the window, but I could smell fresh hay! Yum! We could hear a lot of talking and minutes later, the people came for us. We were so excited. I wanted to jump, but didn’t want to make a bad impression. As we excited the trailer, I looked to the right and saw mom, Anica and Penelope grazing on some sweet looking green grass. Their halters were off, and they were inside of their pasture. Monty, Nico and I were walked to our own pasture. Our halters were removed, and we were shown baskets of hay, buckets of water and a nice green pasture of yummy grass. We even had our own barn to ourselves too. After a couple of minutes of getting of getting adjusted, we chowed down on the hay and grass. I looked over and saw mom and her friends doing the same in their pasture. We shared smiles and I wondered to myself, are we home? Before we could get settled in, there was more commotion outside the pasture as another trailer pulled up. After a couple of minutes, the gate opened, and a huge alpaca came out. He was brought next to our pasture. I approached the fence to introduce myself and he spit at me. Monty told me he wasn’t an alpaca after all, but a llama. My first llama lesson was never approach a llama without his approval! He was actually very nice and we all learned he was brought in to protect us. Llamas and alpacas are from the same family and they are much bigger and stronger than we are. His job will be to protect us from other animals that might try to hurt us. His name is Louie and once things got settled, he would soon become a great resource and teacher for all of us. Over the next few days, we got used to the new routine of morning and evening feedings. We had a nice barn to sleep in and had to make sure we knew where everything important was. Monty, Nico and I had meetings to plan out where we would graze and where we would go to the bathroom. We also established our herd rules. We had gone from a herd of 12 to 25, now to only 3, but herd rules are always important. We were a lean, mean, humming machine! We all had to work together to make sure all our jobs were completed, and nothing was left undone! It was easy to establish guidelines because Monty, Nico and I were actually best friends and we work well together. The fact that Monty had been a team leader in the past, was huge to our success. The fact that Monty had been teaching us for the past couple months, made things so much easier. We also wanted to impress Louie, because eventually he would be our herd leader. We needed to show him, we could all pull our weight and we did! When it was all said and done, it was great to be home with my friends and my family! – B