Poor Jerry. Yesterday he lost his manhood. And just maybe, his dignity.
The vet came out in one of the coolest pick – up trucks I have ever seen – the bed portion had been made into a mobile vet’s office, complete with water on demand and all of the instruments, medicines and supplies she needed to handle just about anything. It had been raining all morning so I had to move Jerry into the barn for the procedure – the babies and Milkshakes got to hang out in the chicken tractor, which I had parked over a tarp with clean hay on it. The vet – Kate – walked into the barn all coolheaded and assured, grabbed that butthead llama and hugged him to her…….and that butthead stood right there with her, calm as can be, while she gave him an injection just above his shoulder. I cannot say how impressed I was. She told me he was “gonna be a real sweetie, he just needs to be taught some manners”. All of my fears that I’d never be able to properly manage him just melted away seeing him respond so quickly to her direction, and she gave me quite a few pointers, assuring me that if I kept at it I’d be able to take him for walks before long.
The sedation drugs worked pretty quickly and she dragged him around where she needed him, gave him a nice eye mask and secured him for his “brain sugery” (hey that was the vet’s comment, not mine….). It took all of 15 minutes and my manly llama became a gelding; a castrated male. He’ll no longer be driven by any hormonal urges and will be guaranteed to remain as sweet as he is now.
The bill was $164. Ok, now that’s a lot of money. BUT. Firstly we had been planning this for awhile and were expecting it to be much, much more than this. Second – it costs me twice that everytime the darn dog or cats have to go to the vet…….and this time the vet came to me. So honestly, I was elated with the price. Jerry has been far cheaper than any “conventional” animal I have ever owned. Even his feed costs are less.
But on to the bad makeover portion of the story.
Kate said that the sedation would last a few hours so I could pretty much do whatever I wanted to him while he was “out of it”. I planned to get him sheared. Against all better judgment I had purchased a set of hand shears, thinking they’d be easier to use than electric ones (and far, far cheaper) and figured that getting him shorn while drugged would be easier than otherwise.
WRONG. On both accounts.
A. He was very drugged but not asleep. Therefore he was floppy and wobbly and I had to hold him steady with one hand while trying to wield these:
(they got wet in the rain yesterday and rusted right up…..crap).
B. His fleece was all wet and matted and clumpy and I could not manage to get the shears close enough to his body at an even pace.
C. I was worried about getting the shears too close and cutting him.
So after starting down his back in a straight line (the idea is to get straight stripes of cutting from the center down) I realized it wasn’t going well. I had to do a lot of second passes to get the fleece short enough to keep him from overheating but I still couldn’t get a consistent length. Then I ran out of time – I had to get the girls off the school bus. I hadn’t gotten nearly enough done, but it looked so bad that I figured I should probably just call in an expert to finish it up properly (notwithstanding the fact that I am almost too embarrassed to let that expert see what I’ve done).
This picture is hilarious for many reasons (now that I am over my need to take a bunch of anxiety meds). First there’s Jerry’s awful, half-done hair cut. Then there’s the look on his face. And in the background…Milkshakes, who has gotten tired of spending all her time in the barn.
I don’t think Jerry is concerned as much with his haircut (or loss of “brains”) so much as he is amused at my epic failure.