I almost laughed myself out of my seat when I had to write Royal Ranch Royalty and Elway in the same sentence, but I suppose that's what he is. Elway, born the day that John Elway retired, was one of the first llamas that arrived here at The Royal Ranch, which in itself deserves the title of Royalty, but that is pretty much where his "dynasty" ends.
When I was doing research into llamas and preparing to buy my first packing llamas (remember back then there was not a need for rescuing llamas, at least that I was aware of) and as usual I was considering doing things a little differently and packing with a string of females because I had fallen in love with a female llama at another farm. But, as I have mentioned you can't house males and females together, so once I made that decision, I knew I had to stick with it. The ranch that Elway lived at was the last that I was going to visit before I made my decision, and they won me over with Elway, partially because they threw a pack into the deal, but because Elway was so easy to handle. The decision was made, and Elway and Hunter (who came from a different ranch) were delivered the following weekend. We didn't even have a trailer back then, my how times have changed.
Anyway, although we purchased him as a packing llama, and the picture shows him packing (he is the brown llama with the white neck) Elway is far from a useful pack llama. He is the last one we pick to take with us on any adventure as he is the laziest llama we own. He is also very bad at stream crossings and I am the only person (knock on wood) that he has not knocked down, so far. He has a terrible habit of just laying down when he gets tired, which is quite often, and will not get back up; he just lays there and looks at us like we are trying to kill him or something.
One time when I was feeding them, I had a green coat on and had the flake of hay tucked underneath my arm and that darn llama bit my arm so hard it left a huge bruise; and remember, llamas don't have any upper teeth so that was just from the force! I got to talking with my mentor Lynley and we think he might have a vision problem, but we did have him tested and he checked out fine. He just seems to not see well at dusk, which of course is when he bit me, and below his legs, which could be the problem with stream crossings. I could just be making excuses for a dumb animal, but I think he may deserve them, the excuses I mean.
Although it sounds like I am picking on Elway, and actually I guess I am, we do enjoy watching him in the pasture. He is one of the funniest llamas we have ever owned. When people take things up to the fence, like grass or a Christmas tree Elway comes running down as fast as he can, rolling his neck and kicking up his back feet; I can always see our guests back up a couple of feet until they are certain he is going to stop at the fence! He is also good at letting us pick up his feet which most llamas do not like, so he can be a good teaching tool to show people about the padded foot of the llama that is so easy on the environment!
Our llama herd has changed dramatically since then, and I have found that our rescue llamas tend to be harder workers and have been fantastic workers for our businesses. I don't know if that is because they are more appreciative or if it is because they seem to trust me absolutely, which is kind of funny, really, considering what many of them have been through. I just know that I will never look back on the decision I made to house males which I ultimately have Elway to thank for, because almost all rescue llamas are males, so in that sense I have a lot to thank him for, don't I? I guess we better quit calling him The Nutcase, darn.