Happy Sunday! We here in Colorado are enjoying a reprieve from the heat, not that I can complain of it too much anyway, but it still gets hot up here...midday! I say this as I sit in front of my fire typing this post-ha! Anyway, I hope that you too are enjoying your weekend.
Today is Royal Ranch Royalty day and I thought I would introduce you all to Pepper because he really had my back earlier this week, so he absolutely deserves the title of Royalty today! I have introduced you, my dedicated readers, to his beloved friend Snickers in a previous post, but I will give you a quick run down of their story again here, just to refresh your memory.
A co-worker of ours with the campgrounds had taken a job at a Girl Scout camp as a maintenance person. He found out that four years, yes four years, prior to his arrival the camp had decided to stop their llama program and just let two llamas loose in the forest surrounding their camp. So these boys, Snickers and Pepper, literally survived on their own, in the woods, for four years!
Blessedly with a little help from our friend, and quite a bit of luck, they ended up here (and of course some good coordination on my part). Thank goodness Tom was with me that day, because Snickers is the biggest llama we have ever dealt with and to get a halter on him was way too high for me! I can do it now, now that he is not always trying to avoid the halter so badly, and trusts me more.
But back to Pepper and how he really had my back. Paco (my ram, or male sheep) had rammed me for the first time ever. Now mind you, this was a very small, even hesitant, ram to my hand because he wanted what was in it (chicken feed). Well, I don't take any crap off of any male animal on this ranch, I just can't, it isn't safe for me. You must keep in mind that all of the males in that pen outweigh me by at least fifty pounds in the case of Paco and triple my weight in the case of the llamas.
So I got pretty aggressive with Paco, I started yelling and screaming and chasing him around the pen. I pretty much tried to emulate what a much larger, much more dominant animal would do, and that is to scare him and to make sure that he knew I was boss. Well, as I'm doing all of this, I hear footsteps following my every move, even as I'm darting left and right to try and keep up with a very agile, scared sheep. I glance over my shoulder, and it was Pepper! He was following me step for step. He literally had my back, and when Paco would dart one way Pepper would sort of chase him back into "the game". It was the funniest thing, this all only lasted the span of about two minutes, but they are two minutes that will last a lifetime.
I mentioned that Pepper's friend is his "beloved", and I don't say that lightly. Pepper absolutely flips out if we take Snickers out of the pen and not him. We have to be very careful that he doesn't jump the fence to stay with Snickers, even if we are just moving them from pen to pasture! When we take one of them on a pack trip, we of course must take them both. Even with his buddy Snickers with him, Pepper is rather high strung and was one of the main characters of a post I wrote about my husband being on a pack trip by himself. That one is worth the click through if you haven't read it!
Pepper is also our very best guard llama. If there is something in the 'hood, Pepper will let us know. He is always the first, and definitely the most persistent, llama to make the very distinct alarm call. It is high and shrill, and I promise, one day I am going to get a good recording of it, but for now you'll just have to take my word for how totally cool it is. One time a renter for our cabin came and let their (very large) Mastiff out of their car and Pepper couldn't figure out if it was a bear or a dog, so he just stood their "screaming", just to be on the safe side!
So, here's to Pepper, and any other animal that has our backs! Respect them, give them a job and a purposeful meaning, and they'll trust you back. It is amazing to watch these fellas that came from out of the woods, literally, to one that has my back in a brawl!