The Alpacas Are Coming
Imagine if you will the panic that spread through New England, late in the night, as Paul Revere made that fateful ride warning everyone in the countryside about the impending onset of British troops…now you know what it feels like in the days preceding the delivery of your first alpacas! It is a very real and not so uncommon emotion. I don’t wish to downplay what can be one of the most anxious times in your life. But I’m here to tell you - there is no need to panic and certainly no need to take up arms. I’ve lived through it and I’ve survived – here’s my story.
Before our alpacas arrived I had read all the literature, scanned countless internet sites and spoken to many alpaca owners – they all seemed so calm. They all talked about the “alpaca lifestyle” where these gentle, elegant creatures romped through bucolic pastures. And the alpaca owners gazed on in amazement about these wonderful, easy-to-care-for creatures from heaven. And my wonderful, calm husband continually reassured me that we were more than prepared to handle these animals.
So, what was my problem? Why all the panic? I’ll tell you why, Dennis and I had just invested a SIGNIFICANT amount of money in these animals and I was having MAJOR second, third and fourth thoughts about our decision. All kinds of crazy thoughts raced through my head as I fought sleep in the days before their arrival –
Do we have the right pasture grass?
Are the fences high enough…did I just hear a wolf?
Does our vet know how to get to our farm in the dark of night for an emergency?
Will my family think I’m CRAZY for spending more money on these animals than I did on my last car?
How can he sleep while I’m in the throes of a nervous breakdown?
Well, the big day arrived. My blood pressure was through the roof as the trailer made its way slowly up the drive. My eldest, wisest brother, Gus and his wife, Ann were there to serve as the official greeting party for our new found investment. (I don’t remember them at my broker’s office when I signed up for a Roth IRA.) I think I was holding my breath for ten minutes as the trailer backed up to the barn door… more insane thoughts filled my head –
What if they bolt from the trailer and run off?
What if they hate their pastures?
Is this barn big enough… it seems so small?
Are the neighbor’s steer going to charge through the fence line?
As the trailer came to a rest and the truck engine was turned off, my pressure began to lower when I heard the gentle humming of alpacas from inside the trailer. I went into robot mode, handing out halters and leads and barking orders at my volunteer staff about how we would unload the “kids” and who would go to which pasture. Dennis cracked the trailer door and slipped inside to halter all the animals. More humming from the trailer, pressure’s almost down to normal. The door cracked open again and out popped his hand with the loop of a lead … oh God, oh God, oh God here goes! The door swung open, Gus and Ann took turns grabbing the leads (I was frozen at this point) and gently guided each member of our herd off the trailer and into his or her pasture.
…Okay, so at least TWO members of my family don’t think I’m crazy. And not one of the alpacas got loose!
The alpacas ran joyfully out of their barn stalls and into their pastures.
…Okay, so I guess they don’t hate it here.
They made a few quick runs around the perimeter of their pastures.
…guess the fence is fine.
And then they began gorging themselves on green pasture grass.
…must have planted the right stuff.
I don’t know how long I stood there in dumbfounded astonishment before I realized it was over. No more need for panic, the alpacas seemed to be happy, they liked their pastures and the barn. The neighbors steer could care less about their new over-the-fence pasture mates. And Gus and Ann were laughing as they drove off after helping to welcome the new, curious creatures.
Later that day, Dennis and I became two more of those “alpaca lifestyle” people when we watched, with goofy grins, while the alpacas pronked through their new pastures…their new home… and the sun set on a Suri Farm.