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"Hey Llamas"

6/21  -  Sutter's Mill

Last weekend was a happy day for our friends Darlene and Steve - on Sunday we delivered their new llamas.  We will miss Leza and her daughter Debbe very much.  But they will have lots of love and attention at their new home, and they will bring llama-joy to their new family.

As we were watching Leza and Debbe get used to their new surroundings, Darlene mentioned that they still hadn't found a new home for their pot-bellied pig Wilbur.   He just hadn't fit in on the ranch, and was at present confined to a six by thirty foot dog pen.  Even a "free to good home" ad in the local paper had yielded no result.  I decided to have a look at the unfortunate creature.

wilbur1.jpg (18113 bytes)Everyone knows that I'm a big softy when it comes to critters, and Wilbur seemed pleasant enough.  So he rode back to the ranch in the llama trailer, there hopefully to join the dogs in patrolling the grounds.

Pigs are pretty smart, and aside from really bad table manners, they haven't many objectionable habits.  Unlike the dogs, pigs don't bark, bite, jump up with muddy feet, or chase cars.  And I've heard that they can become quite attached to human and canine companions.

But . . . . I hadn't considered the llamas!  And they were immediately, unanimously and absolutely terrified of little 56 pound Wilbur the Pig!  The whole ranch erupted in a cacophony of llama alarm calls the minute that my woolly charges discovered what had waddled out of the trailer.  And not a one of my big tough llamas made a move to defend themselves or the herd from this new threat - they either stood tall and stared at the pig from a distance, or they bolted in panic.

wilbur2.jpg (29137 bytes)Oh well, I thought, they'll get over it in a day or two.  They didn't like the goats at first either.  But now a week has passed, and the girls still don't even want to walk past Wilbur's garden south of the barn.  Alarm calls have diminished, but not abated.  And if I let Wilbur out of his garden to walk about the farm with me and the dogs, the general llama terror returns.

Through it all, Wilbur has been a perfect gentleman - er, gentlepig.  He's always glad to see me and the dogs, and he gets along with anyone who will give him half a chance.  He is clean, quiet, and easy to care for.  All he wants to do is just be one of the critters on the farm.  He doesn't seem to notice the llamas - they've never gotten close enough for him to see them very well . . .

The only possible explanation for this unhappy state of affairs is some ancient scrap of genetic code that is universal to all llamas.  From deep within their llama instincts comes the insistent warning: DANGER!!  PIGS!!   Perhaps the first llamas were terrorized by wild boars thousands of years ago.   Who knows!?

So, be warned - llamas and pigs don't mix very well.

"Hey Llamas!!  It's just a pig!!"

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