Please also see our other blog at

It is more active than this one. Always check there for updates, too.

Northeast Llama Rescue was started by Wes and Darcy Laraway of Middleburgh, NY.

Several years ago they rescued their first llama out of a tiny horse pen. Since that day, Northeast Llama Rescue has helped dozens of Camelids from several different states.
The primary mission of Northeast Llama Rescue is to educate owners on how to properly care for their animals.

We also offer assistance with a traveling chute to shear, worm, and trim toenails on hard to handle animals. A 'TRUE REPUTABLE BREEDER" should help out the llama down the road that is not being cared for by owners that understand the needs of llamas.

If you know of a llama owner who is no longer able to care for their animals, there is help available. Members of Northeast Llama Rescue will adopt any unwanted animals. Rescue animals will be relocated to farms of members for training and necessary vet work.

If a llama is able to be rehabilitated, he will be available after a careful screening process. All rescues are placed in homes with a contract that says they shall be provided for and can not be sold. In the event a rescue animal becomes unwanted, the llama MUST be returned to Northeast Llama Rescue.

If you share our philosophy and love for the animals, you are more than welcome to join us! There are lots of llamas that need a person to love.

We also rescue farm animals, and are licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

This site is copyrighted by Wes Laraway.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Border Collies

Just might as well take a moment to tell you about my dogs.

We dont rescue dogs because there are other facilities for that. I do place a bunch of dogs every year with people that are looking for a dog. I helped a Greyhound Rescue Group that has always been good to me place some dogs that they had shipped up after Hurricane Katrina. I always know of a good dog that is looking for a good home. My experiences with dogs actually started with a step grandfather that raised Basset Hounds. He had a bunch. I couldnt get enough of their slobber, barking and smell. My step grandfather was getting older. He was looking for someone to handle his awesome dogs at shows. I was 8, he started training me and I started showing and we won a lot of ribbons. My parents finally caved in and got a boxer. That dog was my life. In our sterile no pet environment, Rosie was my partner in crime.

When my Dad was going to spank us (we usually deserved it) My brother and I would sick the dog on my Dad. Rosie died while I was in Brazil as an exchange student. I brought my folks a puppy out of the Brazillian National Champion Boxer while I was there and ZONA came home with me. Im not sure who they were more excited to see upon our return. Zona was one of the best dogs ever. Boxers are probably one of the best dogs out there....great with kids, short haired, obedient.. They are a great dog.

Upon my return home it was off to college. My fraternity house had a dog but it wasnt the same. When I graduated college, I worked in the Bar business managing a nightclub for a year. I had always thought that English Bulldogs were cool. I found a litter of pups in Peru, NY.....paid $1100- (15 years ago) and brought home my little piglet Maxine. Maxine was my pal. She went out to the bars in Oneonta with me. She slept under the bar that I worked in . With her large spike collar, we were the hit everywhere we went and she was the celebrity of Oneonta. Darcy and I eventually grew up, I took a long term sub job at the school I graduated from. Maxine, Darcy and I moved to a run down apartment in Middleburgh.

Good thing we had love because we didnt have food. We used to eat pasta (no sauce) about 5 nights a week or pop over to my parents house at dinner time to eat. Substitute teaching isnt profitable. Our joint income that year was around 14,000. Looking back at it, we should have applied for "help" but we were too proud for that. I had heard about another bulldog (Maggie) that was for sale. They had spent a lot of money on her, planned on breeding her to make a lot of money but that didnt work out. They had locked Maggie in a pantry. As soon as I saw her, I drove an hour and a half back to Middleburgh to tell Darcy. She was starving, Her ribs were sticking out, she couldnt walk and she was in tough shape. Darcy asked me why I was looking at dogs, asked me why I didnt save her and I drove back an hour and a half the same night to get her. I carried her to the car and saved her life.

Darcy and I were married shortly after that. Darcy bought me a pup out of an American Champion. We named the pup McKenzie and we were a married couple with 3 bulldogs. We tried breeding Maxine. After an artificial insemination, csection and bottle feeding puppies....not fun. I focused my energy on showing McKenzie. We were unbeatable. It is fun showing a dog when you win. That wore off though. People that used to think that Darcy and I with our "cute" little puppy at shows were charming.When we started beating them they were not as nice. I asked Darcy at a dog show one sunday afternoon if she was having fun. She looked at me and said "are you"? That was the last dog show that we ever went to. Maggie went to live with Darcy's brother Scott and McKenzie went to live with her other brother Darren. We were out of the dog show business.

Being so broke, is not fun. I look back at those years now, it wasnt so bad. We had fun and were too young (and dumb) to realize how bad off we were. I was sick of pasta. I got the idea one day that we could actually buy groceries if I got a second job. I told Darcy that I was going to start grooming dogs out of our apartment. I spent our last $300- on the crucial tools and grooming table. I went to train with a professional groomer for a couple of months and I put the word out that I was in business. I started grooming friends and family's dogs for free. I was cheap and I was good. I built up quite a little business in our living room and in our bathtub. I look back on it now and think of how gross it was to be grooming dogs in our 3 room apartment. We didnt care then it was money.

Shortly thereafter, we bought our first home. A great OLD center hall colonial on 5 acres. My Dad was furious at us. He wouldnt even look at it. I always have done what I wanted so I wasnt slowed down. I continued to build my business up and we started to rescue a lot of animals. If it had a heartbeat, we would take it. We eventually "outgrew" our little farm and moved to our present day farm 10 years ago (another story).

Shortly after moving to our new farm with our old pig with hair (Maxine), she had a heart attack and dropped dead at my feet on easter morning following me around hiding Easter eggs for the kids. A friend that is a vet tech at an animal hospital called me a few weeks later. She said that there was a Boxer there and knew that I grew up with them and was "dogless".. She had been horribly abused, her eyeball popped out, the vet had been working on her for 2 weeks and she was so digusting that no one could look at her and the vet had her on the table to euthanize. I told her to get her off the table and bring her over. She wasnt kidding how bad she was. When she opened the door to her truck and I saw Sophie I almost vomited. I got her into the grooming shop and got to work on her. It took me 3 days to massage her eye ball back in. She was a mess. She loved our toddlers and she was "all boxer". She might have only had vision in one eye but you didnt touch my kids. (She got put down by our vet on our front porch in my arms about 2 years ago).

A short time later, a great Golden retriever (lucky) got dropped off in our kennel for boarding over the Thanksgiving holidays. I left my mother in laws early to come home to groom her and get her ready for her folks. They called and told me that they hated her and asked if I could find her a home. I told them that I was a boarding kennel, not a shelter. They never came to get her. I guess that she wasnt so lucky. I called all of my customers with a Golden and a few came to look at her but no takers. Like Boxers, Goldens have to be one of the best dogs ever. At 9pm at night, we sat in the office. I said, "well no one wants you, until I figure out what I am going to do with you, you will have to live with us". We walked over to the house and she climbed up stairs and crawled into bed with my daughter....She is sleeping by my fireplace while I write this.
I had another Golden Retriever (Buster) that was boarded with us for days on end. He moved into the house with us because I felt guilty keeping him in the kennel. He went to camp with Tommy when he came up on weekends. (I put him down, see previous post from a few weeks back).

Then there is Cleopatra (Cleo). I have always wanted a Great Dane. My wife forbid it. Over a couple of years, I kept track of a nearby breeder. After awhile they had a female merle (undesirable color) pup and told me that they would give me a hell of a deal on her. I met them at a park and ride during my lunch break in Cobleskill. They were late and I just got back to school with the pup under my arm. She slept in a box behind my desk. In between classes, I walked up to my wifes classroom and said, "Look what followed me home honey, can I keep it"? She said it looked like a Great dane puppy and she wasnt impressed. Seriously, who can resist a puppy. She couldnt. We have always had adopted dogs in need of a home. I came in from the barn late one night (from lambing), Darcy and Cleo had taken over our bed. She (the dog) takes up the entire bed but I dont complain. I know that no one will walk into my bedroom at night. I love Lucky and Cleo. Cleo is the dumbest dog Ive ever owned but she is lovable. Your probably thinking at this point, isnt this blog titled Border Collies? Yes it is. But I had to give you all my dog background so you could appreciate my relationship with my Border Collies.

I have always thought that BC's are cool. I know that they are the smartest breed of dog. Very high maintenance. I thought that it would be cool to get one when I retired from teaching to herd our sheep but it wasnt in my destinty. Americans herd their sheep by shaking a grain bucket. It works most of the time but you cant count on it. My wife and I took 35 kids from school on a tour of Scotland. It was our 10th wedding anniversary and I had always wanted to check out Scotland. I bought a small flock of registered Scottish Blackface Sheep shortly after we got back to the states. I loved seeing them all over Scotland but didnt realize that there were only about 4000 of them in the USA. My sheep quickly showed me how weak my fences were. They were basically running lose all over the mountain. Darcy loved the Mothers day when I spent half of the day chasing sheep all over the cemetery below our farm, the diner parking lot and Route 145. I still kept working on our fencing and didnt want to neglect a Border Collie by not having enough time for it.

Then the phone rang a few weeks later. My wife always cringes when the phone rings. It probably means that I am leaving and will be off somewhere in the middle of no where saving animals. The woman said that she had a professionally trained Border Collie named Elsie. Her husband had just died and she sold her sheep. She said that she had read about me online and had seen me give one of my Celtic Critters shows. She said that she had to go to Tenn. to update her nursing degree and was wondering if she could board Elsie with me for the summer. I told her that surely there must be a kennel closer to her than me (6 hours away) but she was insistent and I agreed. I told her that when I agreed to "long term" boarding it usually meant that I was getting stuck with the dog. She assured me that that wasnt the case.

The next weekend she showed up with Elsie and I put her in the kennel and tried not to like her. Slowly over the next 3 months that dog grew on me. I started taking her out to chase the sheep on a retractable lead. She was quite aware of what she was doing. I was clueless but we were having fun and I was getting her out of the kennel for exercise. My sheep hated her. They looked at her as a demon, she infringed upon their free run of the farm and they couldnt wait until she left. I was amused.

Like she promised. Elsies owner called me 3 months later. She had accepted a job and was thrilled that Elsie and I were fine. She then shocked me by offerring me a lot of money to keep her. I couldnt say no, although I doubted that she would pay her board or send me her husbands herding books and videos as I requested. Much to my surprise, the check and the herding videos came in priority mail.. There really are good people out there that do what is right by their animals. It was official. I owned a Border Collie and I had visions of what I saw in the Highlands of Scotland. My dog and I would herd the sheep all over my highlands. She would be "my" dog and we would run the farm together. That is exactly what we did. But she had her work cut out teaching me how to herd. We were actually at the Capital District Scottish Festival. Elsie was sleeping under my truck. I had my display of Scottish Blackface Sheep and my Scottish Clydesdales on display.

I was visiting at the fence with one of the event organizers. A woman came up and said "Excuse me, can you tell me when the herding demos are?" The event organizer explained that the older gentleman that normally did the herding was ill and could no longer do was too late to get it out of the program. I said that I just had sheep and clydes, I hadnt been contracted to herd....the woman stomped off swearing and saying something to the nature that was the only reason why she came. I let out a slow whistle and Elsie came out from under my pickup and sat by my feet. The event organizer looked at me, said "Wes, Border Collie, Sheep =SHOW". I asked how much, she radioed to the office and said you have 10 minutes. I told the kids that work for me to break the sheep pen in half, put the other half of the pen in the middle of the riding arena we were doing our other shows in and open up the back of my trailer. I told them that I didnt want to be disturbed for 5 mins. I got into my truck. It looked like a family of gypsies were living in it.

I found the herding book under the seat. I wrote the commands with little arrows on my hand and got out to get my cordless microphone. Elsie made me look like a million dollars. She herded the sheep from their pen to the pen in the middle of the arena. A crowd of thousands formed. She herded the sheep from that pen on to my stock trailer. Scottish Blackface Sheep dont follow orders well, they stomped their feet and protested...She then herded them back into their original pen... After 7 shows over 2 days, I had a nervous breakdown but she never let me down....She was a hit and the new star of the Celtic Critters Show. People saw me everywhere and introduced me to their friends as the guy that owns Elsie....Elsie was my shadow and she spent every minute that I would allow by my side. I even snuck her into school and she slept under my desk during career days and evenings when I worked late. That dog taught me what it was to own a dog. She trained me and as Jon Katz says, "Made me a better person".

Word quickly spread that I had a dog that could round up animals. Usually at the worst times (like when I was dressed up, late for a wedding) we would find ourselves putting in someones beef cows or run away sheep. Elsie and I started to form a bond unlike any Ive ever had with a dog. We were one and she knew what I was thinking and I didnt have to speak to her. ...she knew what I wanted her to do and she knew what I was doing. Elsie was my "barn dog" she initally lived in a kennel by the sheep because my wife said that she wouldnt have another house dog with 3 kids. That didnt matter because I lived outside. This spring I noticed Elsie was getting thin. I wormed her, started some canned food (and table scraps) but she continued to lose weight. When friends started asking me what was wrong with Elsie I took her to the vet. I told the vet that I wasnt leaving until she told me what was wrong with Elsie. We sat in the waiting room, I in one chair, Elsie in the chair next to me (she liked sitting in the chair next to me no matter where we were).

The vet eventually came out. She told me that she had agressive cancer. I could spend lots of money but the dog would die shortly and that I should put her down. I walked out without paying (I paid later) , got in my truck and started crying. I dont remember driving home but I remember Elsie doing the Border Collie thing out the open window. They put their heads out of the window, the wind blows through their hair and everytime you pass a car they bite in the air at it. That damm dog could have cared less that she was going to die. Elsie and I spent a lot of time together that last month. She made it in to our "mudroom" porch. As she got weaker she made it to the side of my bed, although I often slept on the floor with her. She started losing her bowels although she would still follow me around the farm and put the sheep in every night. She wasnt in pain that I could detect, just happy to be hanging out with me. Her last weekend the sheep shearer (Ray Baitsholts) came. This is what Elsie lived for.

She was too weak to work but sat about 10 foot from Ray while he was shearing... just to give the sheep "the look" if they got any ideas. The next morning she couldnt walk. I picked her up and we went down to my buddy Scotts sheep farm. Ray was shearing down there and I had offered to help. Elsie and I sat on a hay wagon and watched. Actually she watched. I was in shock. We didnt say goodbye. I went to my vets church. When he came out from services, I motioned him over to the truck. I had eaten dinner next to him at Rotary for years.

He said" what is wrong Wes"? I blurted out "Will you kill my dog"? I followed him home, waited for him to open the office and carried Elsie in and sat her on my lap. He didnt want me to do that (dogs release their bowells when they die)...I didnt care. Elsie and I looked into one anothers eyes and I watched the life leave her body and felt the wetness on my legs....and on my cheeks.. I feel that wetness on my cheeks now just remembering that look. That look was complete and total love. I composed myself and wrapped her up in my favorite blanket and jacket. Tossed a bunch of money on the table (to his protests) and walked out to my truck. Hannah held him while we came home. A couple of friends came up to help me bury him.

A piece of me died that day. I was a man with out a shadow, I was crushed. As we were burying her, we found an old horseshoe about a foot underground. You cant tell me that wasnt a sign. After several months, I really am not over it yet. Buster's death a couple of weeks ago was tough but nbot the same. Abscense does make the heart grow fonder.

A friend had went to Empire Farm Days and met a lady walking around with some Border Collies. He had her number written down on a piece of paper. It took me weeks to call her. We talked for over an hour, even though she said that had no dogs for sale. As I started to set the tone for good byes, she said...wait...I have Austin...the other dogs hate him....he is yours. I asked how much and she said nothing. I was trying to figure out how I would get to Buffalo to get him, she said dont worry about it...I'll deliever him. As we ate lunch at the diner, Austin bit at cars going by in the parking lot through the window....He looked at us in the diner and looked quite comfortable in Elsies truck. He should be...he is wearing her collar. If you believe in destiny, what are the odds that I would have another Border Collie lying at my feet right now....from Buffalo like Elsie. I often wonder if the two of them are related, not that it really matters because he is "my" dog and he has a home for as long as he lives.

Enough for one night, Wes

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Northeast Llama Rescue by Wes Laraway

The Northeast Llama Rescue was started by Wes and Darcy Laraway several years ago after they rescued their first llama out of a tiny horse pen. Since that day, the Northeast Llama Rescue has helped dozens of animals in 5 states. The primary mission of Northeast Llama Rescue is to educate owners on how to care for their animals properly. We also offer assistance with a traveling chute to shear, worm and trim toenails on hard to handle animals. If owners get "tired" of the daily maintenance of their herds, members of the Northeast Llama Rescue will adopt or buy, if possible, any unwanted animals. Rescue animals go to the farms or members of the organization.

The Northeast Llama Rescue does not wish to compete with other rescue organizations, although any llama or alpaca is welcome. We need to cooperate to help ALL camelids, not just registered or "nice-looking" ones. Everyone has the right to breed and sell llamas, but a true reputable breeder will "help out" the llama down the road that is not being cared for, regardless of its age, sex or conformation.

Our last rescue came from Central New York. A farm had purchased 9 animals from a Midwest auction. Four of the animals had died from natural causes....starvation? The owner had health problems and no longer wanted the animals. After several other concerned people failed to negotiate their sale, I eventually called and within five minutes we had agreed on a price and the deal was done. The next night, Wes Laraway, Kim Scheurerman and P.J. Wagner went to pick up the animals. The owner informed us that the llamas were wild and could not be handled. Within five minutes all were calmly caught, on lead ropes and in the trailer, with us using a wand and some TEAM Training techniques. The owner thought I was the "llama whisperer" because I got those llamas to do things in five minutes that she couldn't do in a year. She unfortunately knew nothing about handling llamas.

Three hours later, we were back into quarantine at Red Maple Farm starting "damage control". The animals were immediately wormed, fed fresh hay and grain, and watered. All were body scored under three by sight and by feeling through their wool. This hands-on inspection revealed barbed wire that needed to be cut out of the fiber. We decided NOT to shear because it was too late in the year and they were too thin.

Another concern was an ingrown halter. One of the best ways to remove ingrown halters is to undo the buckle(s) and cut the nose band with sharp toenail clippers on each side of the nose. Then gradually, over time, the remaining pieces will fall out. With application of an antibiotic cream, any wounds from the ingrown halter will heal quickly. In this particular case, the halter came out of the nose and was added to the "wall of shame" in our barn (along with the barbed wire and ear tags still on them from the auction they were purchased from). The blood stream stopped within fifteen minutes and now, after a month, we can tell that scarring will be minimal. Please tell everyone you know that owns camelids, NEVER leave a halter on a llama! Even in a week, with wet conditions, a halter can embed itself in a llama's nose.

My biggest concern was the 10 month old female that was exposed to her father. If bred, we decided to abort the unborn cria for the safety and well-being of the young female. None of these five animals were over the age of three years. All of them, over the following months, would need intense care and proper nutrition. The animals were all updated on health requirements and gelded. All of these animals would need training before they could go up for adoption.

New problems continuously arose. Two weeks after they arrived, one of the females surprised us with a weak, constipated fourteen pound male cria. Within hours I knew it wasn't "normal" so mom and baby were moved to a quarantine pen in the barn. The decision was made to supplement the cria with goat colostrum and give him an enema. Although the cria was walking, he continued to strain to relieve himself. Around the clock surveillance did not reveal any nursing or defecation. At two days old, I found very small maggots between the cria's toes and by his umbilical cord. After consulting my vet again, the cria got a bath and dried out in the heated office before going back to mom in the barn. My vet explained that crias born on rainy days must be completely dry or flies will lay eggs in moist areas of umbilical fluid. I've never heard of this problem before but I know now to check my newborn crias for maggots every day. After five days of constant care, we lost "Trooper"....I guess it was not meant to be, but we tried.

The rest of the animals are doing well today. Concerned individuals found them, bought them and will protect them. Today is actually a special day, because the vet did fecals on them and all five of them are parasite free and can join our llama herd. After training and further rehabilitation, by Spring 2001 this group of animals will be available for adoption to carefully approved homes. All animals sold or placed by Northeast Llama Rescue will be adopted with a legal contract. The contract states that if the llama ever becomes unwanted or is not cared for properly, the animal will return to Red Maple Farm for a full refund. I used to think I could save every unwanted llama in the world...I know that I can't . It is too great an undertaking for one farm to rescue all the unwanted camelids out there. For this reason, several other farms have joined in the effort with Red Maple Farm to pool resources and save neglected and unwanted camelids.

Any farm that shares our philosophy that every llama deserves a life with proper care is welcome to join us. We are people who genuinely love all llamas and want to make a difference one llama at a time. Eventually we will print an educational brochure to hand out at events with member farms listed. Don't just tell people that you love your llamas; show people by making a difference and actually save one. Always quarantine new animals for at least one month while getting wormings, vaccines and nutritional needs in order. Always do a fecal exam and consult your vet about when new animals should go out with the herd. Geld all males and most of all BE PATIENT. Llamas are very forgiving animals and will learn to love and trust again with gentle care and training.