A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 1, 2009

It’s 2009 – Happy New Year

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset

Pride, Dream and Atlas Enjoy A Sunset


The New Year has arrived and as always we wonder what it will bring as it unfolds.  As 2008 began we were not to know that for us it would be a year of losses, the loss of our dear Sandie dog was followed by the loss of our young cat Snuggler, two crias Legs and Beeper were also to leave us and then in November the biggest loss of all, that of my father.


But thankfully there were joys too in 2008.   Many beautiful crias arrived at the farm, new friends were made, old friends were revisited and a beautiful grand daughter, Aida, entered our lives.  A little girl who is quick to smile and happily explores all of the new experiences life brings her.


I know for many 2008 was a tough year, reminding us to be grateful for what we have, a roof over our heads, food on the table, good friends and family.   Despite the bleak predictions of the media I hope that those who struggled so much in 2008 have some relief and assistance in the New Year.


In 2009 some lucky people will join us in owning and raising alpacas.  On this New Year’s Day they may be excitedly planning the purchase of their first alpacas, thinking about the structure of their alpaca business, anticipating their first steps into the alpaca world.  How exciting for us to think that we might contribute to their success, whether it be selling them their first alpacas or offering encouragement and guidance along the way.


As the New Year dawns I know that the alpacas will be in the pasture, carrying on oblivious to the significance of the date.  Their steady presence brings a perspective to life.    They appreciate each moment for what it is, and don’t concern themselves with the many “what if’s” that humans have.    As I am treated to a barrage of cria kisses from Nochi, a lingering look from Dream, a dance of expectance from TeQueely and the precious gift of the alpacas trust as I work among them, I am aware of how fortunate I am to have these beautiful creatures in my life.


For all who read this I wish a Happy and Prosperous 2009, remember that happiness is often found in the most basic areas of life and that prosperity is so much more than the amount of money in you have in your bank account.



May 17, 2008

Difficult News

Filed under: alpaca, Family, General — Tags: , , , — alpacalady @ 7:42 am

Our Dear Sandie



We received word from our small animal vet yesterday that our dear dog Sandie is in the advanced stages of cancer.  During the tests and x-rays that the vet ran she discovered that Sandie’s lungs are filled with small tumors.  The vet has told us that these are the sort of tumors that occur when a cancer has metastasized and that most likely the main area of cancer is in another part of her body.  At this time we suspect that the cancer may be in Sandie’s brain as she is showing some neurological symptoms.  Amazingly though she is still able to breath normally despite the tumors in her lungs.


After consultation with our vet we have decided to bring Sandie home to live out her days.  She is not in any distress or pain, just getting a little weaker each day.  Should Sandie show distress then we will take the difficult but kindest step of putting her to sleep.


It has been difficult accepting the news of our dear and trusted friend.  We have had Sandie for 13 years, having found her as a stray in a snowstorm.  She ran up to me and grabbed my leg with her paws; something I thought was endearing at the time but later discovered was a display of dominance.


When we first found Sandie she was thin and tired, she had injuries to her face where people had been throwing stones at her.  We put her in our truck intending to foster her and adopt her out, but two weeks later our Golden Retriever Katy died and we felt that maybe there had been a reason behind Sandie’s arrival.


Sandie’s life with us has been a good one.  She has not been the easiest dog to have around as she has food aggression and dog aggression issues, but her behavioral problems led me to learn a lot about handling difficult dogs and resulted in us being able to manage her well.   Without Sandie I would not have such an understanding of dog pack mentality. 


As a youngster Sandie was an active dog who needed to be kept occupied.  I still remember coming home one day to find Ric sitting with his head in his hands having discovered 15 Sandie sized holes in the back yard (Sandie is about 50 lbs so the holes were large!).  A consultation with a dog trainer led us to put a wading pool in the back yard complete with floating toys.  Sandie would spend all day taking the toys out of the pool and then putting them back in again, and miraculously the hole digging stopped.


Sandie had such a rough start in life that we felt it was only fair to give her every chance.   In her latter years she has mellowed some but is still a feisty girl at times.  Sandie has always idolized Ric, following him around with a soppy look in those golden eyes of hers.  If ever there was a case of a dog being star struck over a human it is Sandie over Ric.


So we will take each day as it comes with Sandie, our vet tells us she could live any where from a few days to several months.  Each day we have with her will be a treasure and we will make sure that her final days are happy and comfortable.  When I picked Sandie up from the vet’s yesterday her tail wagged furiously when she saw me and she was anxious to get out of the vets and into the truck leaving me with no doubt that for now the right thing is for her to come home.   


May 16, 2008

To the Vets, to the Vets we go.

Just when we thought our regular trips to our small animal vet were going to stop another of our dogs has decided it is her turn to use up her veterinary allowance.  We finally got the all clear on our Pomeranian Toby who had been seeing the vet on a regular basis since he developed acute hemolytic anemia following a vaccine reaction.  Toby will be on half a prednisolone tablet for the rest of his life, but thankfully his blood levels are back to normal and he is once again the speeding ball of fur that we know and love.


Now Sandie our Aussie Shepherd/Retriever cross is under the weather.  Sandie has been acting a little oddly since I came back from England, but by yesterday she had developed a head tilt and her right hip gave out on her yesterday evening.  So off to the vets we went and Sandie got to spend the night there.  So far her blood work looks fairly good with just a slight anemia and so the vet will be taking X-rays of her hips this morning to see if that is where the source of Sandie’s problem lies.  Sandie is at least 13 years old (she was already an adult dog when we found her) and so unfortunately age is not on her side.  Still there is a lot that can be done with modern veterinary medicine and hopefully Sandie will be home soon as the house does seem empty without her.


Having spent time at the small animal vet it was then time to head off to the large animal vet with Queen and her new cria in order to get the cria’s blood drawn for his IgG test, BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus) PCR test and his registration blood sample.  Not all breeders do IgG tests on their crias but we have always run them on our crias and it gives us a good idea of the immune system of the cria.  A negative BVDV PCR test will be required for us to eventually be able to show the cria.  It is a one time test and so we figure it is just as well to get that done and obtain blood for the crias registration card all at the same time as the IgG test.  Queen’s boy is a very lively lad and so I am sure his test results will come back good.  He loves to run and during our late night check of the girls yesterday he was seen to be chasing all over the pasture, bugging the other alpacas and then eventually returning to Queen so that he could nudge her to get up from her cushed position so he could nurse.


So yesterday was a day of veterinary appointments, and today who knows maybe, just maybe someone else will decide to have her cria and hopefully without the need for a vet.  I’ll keep you posted.



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