A Baptist church in Pelham, AL, had its annual Blessing of the Animals earlier this month. I believe mine are already blessed, or they wouldn’t have survived their recent escapade.
Monday was a day of drama for the llamas, Rio and Beeper. As my weekend house guests were preparing to leave, I got a call from a neighbor who lives about a mile up the road. “Elaine, your llamas are out,” she told me. “Are they outside the gate?” I asked, because some folks see them grazing by my pond and think they have escaped their pen. “Yes, my daughter saw them down by the church.”
|Beeper and Rio|
That’s about two blocks from my gate. Fearing the worst, one guest and I jumped in my UTV, then I drove like a wild woman to my barn and grabbed llama collars, leashes and a couple of strong lead ropes. We high-tailed it down the hill as fast as we dared in a vehicle with brakes that are almost metal-to-metal. My other guest jumped into her car and followed us. We prayed all the way to the church that the llamas were safe. We also wondered which one of the workmen putting up fencing in my pasture had let them out. I had warned them that when entering or leaving my property, they should stop until the gate closed behind them, to make sure the llamas didn’t dash out. Obviously, someone didn’t heed my admonition.
As we passed the little church graveyard, we spied the llamas, prissing down the road as if they owned it. My friend Calvin, who lives near the church, had spotted them, too, and stopped his truck to help us herd them home. We had a feed bucket with us, so Beeper came right up and started eating. I quickly threw a lead rope around her long neck, then slipped on her halter. But her mama, Rio, wouldn’t get close enough to eat, much less be caught. We had her surrounded, but animals can slip through such a paltry posse as we presented.
Figuring she would follow where Beeper went, I ve-rrr-y slooow-ly drove toward home, while my friend held onto Beeper’s lead rope. Beeper wasn’t happy about this arrangement. She stubbornly pulled back on her lead rope, and it seemed to take us 10 minuets to get 10 feet. Even the feed bucket wasn’t enough to entice her, so I jumped out and let my friend drive while I walked with Beeper. Her mamma followed us, stopping frequently to graze or stare at passing traffic.
My friend's roommate followed behind in her car, while the motorist who had been patiently waiting for us to get the llamas out of the road slowly followed her. Calvin drove across the street and parked just outside my fence, then punched in my gate code. As the gates slowly opened, Rio loped across the main road and through the opening gates. Whew! One down, one to go.
I thanked the Lord profusely as Beeper and I passed through the gates, too. Then we ponied Beeper from my UTV up my hill and back to the barn, a distance of about 1,800 feet. I put the llamas in my arena so they couldn’t escape again, gave them hay and water, then chastised the contractor for letting them out. I knew it was he, because his was the last vehicle to come in before the llamas got out. Turns out he hadn’t seen them and didn’t realize they were nearby.
This story could have had a very different ending. If the llamas had been hit by a car, they could have been maimed or killed. They would have suffered either way, and I would have mourned their loss and been angry with the contractor who left the gate open. As it turned out, the llamas had been blessed, even without the church service.