Known for their keen vigilance over their charges, alpacas have become popular guard animals amongst flocks of sheep and even chickens in Australia.
These once-natives of South America are kept too for their soft, silky and greaseless fleece, along with their oh-so-cute faces. Yet sitting beneath the surface of all of this is a gentle and sentient being, an animal whose care our kind has been less than vigilant about. For forgetting just who they are, and replacing this with what we can get from them, has been the lot of many of these gentle animals.
Al Fredo, Al Pacino and a third group member who never made it to sanctuary, are among that number.
So forgotten had they become, their status was classed as abandoned and they were seized by the RSPCA before being surrendered into our care and kindness. Of the Huacaya (pronounced wah-ki-ya) breed, their unkempt and unshorn fleece has ballooned to such a burdensome extent that when sitting in the field, they looked more like lichen-covered boulders. But then they move and morph into multi-coloured cumulus clouds migrating across the plane.
That Al Fredo and Al Pacino were so neglected, for whatever reason, is a potent reminder to us all that, regardless of how busy our life gets, the well-being of the animals in our care is something we should all be vigilant about.
After a night so long it almost forgot to end, we caught some sleep, grabbed a snack and headed on our well-worn track to the barn.
There was no doubt that Berlin’s world was crumbling the day he and his three buddies were surrendered into our care.
With a haunting sadness in their eyes, Gracelyn and Elvira entered our world. And we theirs, as they searched their newfound digs for somewhere to land their gaze.
Lost in a world far, far bigger than himself was little Bahama. But then kindness found him.
Little Kokomo may have been down on his luck the day he was born, finding himself way down in a pile of mirky mud.
Words could not convey our shock when we went to our carpark to collect the little lamb we would soon name Bermuda, who was surrendered into our care after having been found the day before.
More than likely destined for backyard slaughter, the young Cedric ran for his life. And did so for several days in the off-leash dog park to which he had retreated.
Friend or freezer? Without even meeting the colourful chap we have named Tom Cruise, we knew the only role he should ever fill was the first.
At just one day old, teeny tiny Trapper John was diminutive in size yet formidable in impact, and everybody was talking about him.