Monday, March 27, 2017

Hope gives way to compassion

By David Horst

Hope gave way to compassion last Thursday.

We were barely into the barn when the vet pronounced hope was gone.

"We're in hospice mode now," she concluded.

Our 17-year-old llama, Constellatione, has not been able to stand on his own for several weeks now. In the world of a natural prey animal like a llama, that's a fatal flaw.

We've been holding out hope that lifting him daily with a cattle sling and an electric winch would get the strength back into his legs so we could see him grazing in the pasture once again.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Neighbor helps keep hope alive

By David Horst

Hope came rolling up our driveway in the form of a really big pickup truck on Monday.

Our hay guy, neighbor Randy who cuts and bales our hay with his brothers in exchange for half the take, came to help us get Constellation to his feet after about 72 hours of the llama being down. We're not close friends. Really, our only relationship is the business connection of haymaking. But when we asked, he came.

"That's what neighbors do," Randy said. It's the code of the country.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Llama needs hope to remain faithful

By David Horst

Today I was pretty convinced that Hope is just a city in Arkansas -- a sucker bet for people who can't see the reality in front of their noses.

I had seized onto hope on Friday, when our llama Constellatione had shown signs of improvement after 14 hours of not having the strength to stand up on his own. And the last place he had gone down was out in the pasture, in the wind.

Cobbling together a hay manger, a few hay bales, my compact tractor and a pontoon boat-sized tarp, I erected a quick wind break around him, but he had to walk on his own.

Our llama vet -- actually our llama vet's daughter -- discovered an infection caused by an abscess tooth. She was instructing her intern about how llamas can develop abscesses, "Like this one," she said, as she felt along the llama's jaw. She gave him a shot of antibiotic that she said could turn his situation around in 24 hours.