Thursday, July 14, 2011

Visiting Llamas

One of the benefits of having a camp at an animal shelter is being able to give the children experiences with animals that might be new to them. We do this with all the animals that end up in the shelter, but occasionally we are able to bring in animals that usually don't end up in shelters.

Mark and Kathy Harder own a llama farm out in the Watertown area and for many years have been kind enough to bring a llama or two to HAWS Kids 'N Critters Day camp to teach the kids about llama behavior, what kind of pets they make, and allow the children to get up close and personal with the animals. This is definately a first time experience for many of the kids attending camp.

I learn a little something about llamas every time the Harder's visit. Llamas really aren't expensive to keep - one llama cost no more than having a medium to large dog. They are very clean animals and most of the time prefer to eliminate in the same areas -- which means that the floor is clean after the llama leaves. In many places they use llamas as guardian animals with other livestock since llamas are very assertive and will attack predators.

The new piece of information I learned on this visit is that llamas like to sniff new people during their greeting. And Addy did exactly that on Monday when the kids were coming up to say "hi" and give her a little bit of attention. Apparently Addy felt that the kids were ok because she felt no urge to spit at them. And the kids really liked meeting her as well.

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