Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Llove for Llamas is Over

I am SO over my llama phase.

Once upon a time, I thought llamas were the most wonderful animals on earth. I had dozens of stuffed and ceramic ones. I had llama earrings, llama clothing, and accessories made from llama wool. Then, for a "significant" birthday, I decided I would treat myself to a llama trek. Instead, I ended up BUYING a llama from the woman who owned the llama trek company. Actually, I bought two; because llamas are herd animals, she wouldn't let me have my sweet little Smore unless I took his not-so-sweet buddy, Pongo. The bell that went off in my head as Pongo looked disdainfully down his nose at me (quite a feat since, at that point, I was taller than he was!) should have been a warning.

Three sons, two dogs, and two llamas made for a great life. We live in the country where there's plenty of room to romp and play, and llamas are the world's best pets: low maintenance, curious and clever brains, great eyelashes. Though my furry little fellows had great bloodlines, I quickly discovered I did not have the patience to go the show route (for their one appearance in a local parade, it took four hours a piece to brush and groom them!), and as a busy mom, I didn't have the time to pursue breeding them. Thus Smore and Pongo were left to enjoy life as "gentleman llamas"--lounging in the pasture, entertaining neighbors, sneaking out for an occasional stroll across the yard. We found out they loved guacamole taco chips. We found out they liked Christmas carols. We found out they love to sunbathe on scorching hot days. (Go figure!)

A couple of years ago, my beloved Smore passed away. He was twelve years old and had lived a happy life. As we buried him, I worried about Pongo, in spite of the fact that he had done little over the years to endear himself to me. Did I need to find him a new buddy? Did I need to find him a new home? I was worried he'd be sad and depressed. Ha!

Sweet Smore was barely in the ground before the pompous, arrogant beast I'd always suspected Pongo was revealed himself in full force. He snorted, he bucked, he charged--and, oh, yes, he spat--with great contempt and greater enthusiasm. He broke out of the pasture and headed straight for our back door, where he left a mound of "calling cards" then pranced around as if to say, "C'mon, cross that line. I dare you!" Once out of the pasture, it was almost impossible to get him back in. As long as Smore was alive, pasture breaks were no big deal; we'd lead both llamas right back in with a bucket of grain. But now, if any of us dared to leave the house while Pongo was on the loose, he'd come charging across the yard with malice in his heart, a look in his eyes declaring, "You want a piece of me? Huh? You want a piece of me?" Then he would GIVE us a piece: a hearty helping of stinky, slimy spit delivered with machine-gun force, and woe be unto whoever happened to be in his line of fire. As long as I was watching from inside the house, it was pretty darn funny to see this shaggy, 500-pound son of Satan terrorizing my 6 foot, 200+ pound guys. Not nearly so funny when I was the one running for my life--uncertain whether Pongo's goal was to kill me or claim me. I had no desire to experience either one.

For the last few months, ol' Pongo has been pretty docile. It's been really cold, and he likes cold weather, so maybe he's been in a better mood. Or maybe he's getting old and worn out. In any case, apparently he woke up this morning and decided it was time for a reminder about who's in charge. When my husband and son and I started to leave for work, there was Pongo in the front yard, looming like a long-necked, horizontal Abominable Snowman. I swear his eyes were twinkling; I know he was grinning. Forty-five minutes, four boxes of cereal, two ropes, and a Ford pick-up later, he was back in the pasture. His heart wasn't in this escape, I could tell, because one buck, one snort, and a few half-hearted charges were all the protest he offered. I think he just needed to show a little attitude for old times' sake.

But as I stood out there shivering in the cold, waving that bucket of corn flakes (a sorry substitute for guaco taco chips, I might add) and wondering if my life should be flashing before my eyes, I thought, "Lord, it's time You call this llama home." And then, I'm sorry to say, my next thought was, "Wonder what kind of pet a miniature donkey might make?"

I am truly my own worst enemy.

AN UPDATE TO THIS POST: During his last breakout, Pongo trotted down the road to visit neighbors who, unbeknownst to me, have apparently been bringing apples and carrots to Pongo since they moved into the neighborhood a few years back. When we went to fetch him home, they confessed their fondness for our furry beast (which seemed to be mutual!) and said if we'd ever like to get rid of him, they'd love to have him. I am happy to report that Pongo the Terrible is now holding court around the corner, finally the king of his own pasture, with a new lease on life in his old age, and smothered with the attention he's always thought he deserved. Rock on, Pongo; rock on.

2 comments:

Glenda Council Beall said...

Jayne, you really made me laugh with this post. I can imagine you running from Pongo and I can see those men of yours trying to stand up to him.
I always thought I'd like to have a llama, but I can see they have diffeent personalities just like other animals - horses, dogs, cats - which I've owned.
You write so well I really enjoy your posts.

Nancy Simpson said...

Jayne, I enjoyed this tale by the Comma Goddess Llama Lady. You are a fascinating person.