When I was in early elementary school, my parents decided we were going to live "on a farm". I use "on a farm" loosely, as our livestock were more pets (and a money pit!) than anything else. We had goats, sheep, and pigs, but in eighth grade, I determined it was not enough. I decided we must have a llama.
At first, you may have had the same reaction as my parents- "A llama?!". Yes. A llama. Not only are they majestic creatures, but they are incredible at herding sheep. (Although, my dad may have disagreed with this a time or two!) They are also protectors, capable of killing predators to our livestock, like coyotes, dogs, raccoons, etc. I must admit that my primary reason for wanting a llama was fairly selfish. I wanted to ride it like a horse.
I begged my parents for months to get a llama. I did research, made PowerPoint presentations, wrote songs and led numerous conversations around llamas. I think my parents eventually just got sick of it, so my dad took me to a farm in Sunman, Indiana. It was there that I found the most beautiful llama in all the land, Josephine Adaline. (All my pets have a first and middle name. )
When I first saw Josie, she was standing in the sun, the wind gently blowing through her long, wispy ear hair. She was breathtaking, and I was instantly in love. As we proceeded to load her into our trailer, she began bucking like a wild bronco. It looked like a scene straight out of a rodeo! My dad, slightly panicked, turned to me and asked, "Are you sure this is the one you want? We could get a tame one instead." I implored him for Josie, assuring him I would tame her and she would make a fantastic pet. I think he was in full-on denial when we got home and could not get her to move off the trailer for two hours.
Josie never did become "tame". She hated to be touched and honestly preferred that all humans stay 10-15 feet away from her. On the random occasions that I would pet her, she would throw her ears back, swoop her neck around and give me the "stank eye". She liked me more than my dad, though. I think she would intentionally toy with him by herding the sheep in the opposite direction he wanted to her go, knocking him down and showing her teeth to him with ears laid back.
Josie was great in a lot of ways. She was an amazing protector to our sheep. She would pick favorites, love on them and sleep with them. She would do barrel rolls in the dusty dirt during the summer. It was hilarious to see her on her back, legs kicked up in the air, just doing her thing. Even if she wasn't friendly, I still loved her.
Josie was 2 when my family got her in 2002. She lived for 17 wonderful years before she passed away in September 2017. I was, and honestly still am, devastated that she is gone, but she had a wonderful life on the Berglan Fox Farm. I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life. My goal is to have more llamas (or maybe alpacas- they are smaller!) again someday, but none of them will ever compare to Josie.