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


Horses have always been a weakness for me.

I love their smell. Their strength, the fact that you have to be smarter than them, gain their trust and take little steps at a time in their training or you are very likely to get hurt. Possibly even killed. My facination with Equines started with a miserable little shetland pony at my Grandparents named Prince (I still have his bridle and brushes). Prince was a miserable little pony. He wasnt really fond of us kids but he kind of liked me. I remember my grandfather, he had emphasema. He couldn't walk so he rode a lawn mower around his farm. He used to chase Prince all over his pasture on it, catch him and let me ride him.

My aunt would normally walk us all over Huntersland. I liked Prince alot. I was probably the only one that missed him when he died. Through my adolecence, I remember all of my friends that had a pony or a horse. I rode a lot of horses in school and as an exchange student to Brazil. I did some really stupid things but never got hurt. The edrenillin was like a rush to me when jumping walls, galloping down the old dirt rodes, and getting to figure out what makes horses tick.

When my wife and I bought our first farm. One of the first animals I bought was a great appy gelding named Oscar. I loved that horse. He would do anything for me. I decided that it would be fun to ride with my wife. I bought a paint gelding off of another teacher at school named Apachie. He was a very strong willed gelding but I rode him like a show pony. The first (and one of the only) times I have ridden horses with my wife was not pleasant. She had ridden trail horses at a resort that she had worked at in Lake George during summers off from college. She thought that she knew what she was doing but didn't.

As we were riding, she became more and more nervous that the horse had a brain and was starting to get really agitated that she was pulling and being really rough on the bit in his mouth. Even when he was doing what she wanted. He started to act up, I tried to tell her what she was doing wrong and she quickly informed me that she knew what she was doing and didnt need my advice. So I rode off and left her, knowing that it wasnt going to be pretty. The only thing that Apachie hated worse than having his mouth yanked around was being alone.

As Oscar and I trotted off to the other side of the field Apachie started to rear and behave poorly for Darcy. She eventually got scared enough to beg for help and I rode back accross the field. She followed me home and that was the last time we ever rode together. After our trail ride, the more I rode...the more my back started to bother me. A doctor eventually diagnosed me with a degenerative spinal disease and forbid me to ever ride again. I bawled my eyes out when the people that bought those horses drove out of the driveway with the horses on their trailers.

I submersed myself in our llamas, pygmy goats and our growing collection of rescued animals. But there was a void. Before we had kids, Darcy and I often went for a ride on the weekends. (Back before the price of gas being $3.50 a gallon). We had one rule,that we COULD NOT leave Schoharie County and we would purposely try to get lost. On one of these rides, we passed an old farm. On the front lawn stood the largest and coolest horse I had ever seen since I had seen the Budweiser Hitch at the State Fair as a kid. Yes, right there....10 miles from our little farm was the nicest Clydesdale that I had ever seen. I stopped the car and against my wifes wishes, I got out of the car and went over to the one strand electric fence. The big horse trotted over and I started petting him and smelling him. With the risk of being shot by some hillybilly I stepped over the fence and threw my arms around this beast. I hung off his side, crawled under him, couldnt get enough of him. We spent about 15 minutes together and I left with regrets. All the way home I was thinking. The doctor said that I was no longer able to ride. He never said anything about driving. I started to think (which is usually dangerous).

That night I was reading our local "My Shopper," a local classified ads newspaper. I turned to the livestock section and right there in print...CLYDESDALE- Gelding, reg., 7 years old, cart and harness. He was a lot of money but I called the number. The woman on the other end explained that it was Bill Gridleys horse. He was a local teamster, he loved his horses and Jake was the last horse he bought before he died. She asked if I wanted to see him, I said I had and I bought him. Well actually we agreed that I could pay him off $100 a month until he was mine. I was in my glory. That horse gave me the Clydesdale fever. He taught me how to drive, he still is in my barn at the age of 24. It will be a sad day when he leaves me but when he does he will be buried here at our farm.

When we bought our new farm 10 years ago. We designed the entire facility for llamas. I had sold Jake for a lot of money to build the llama barn. I kept track of his various owners and what he was doing. It took a couple of years but I bought him back. I had always felt like I had sold that horse out. He was my best friend and I sold him. I did what I had to do for the benefit of the farm. Buying Jake back was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life. As our pasture, fences and facilities did our Clydesdale collection. I started doing Laraway's Celtic Critters shows at Scottish festivals with our Clydesdales, Scottish Highland cattle, Scottish Blackface Sheep and our Border Collie to make (a lot) of money to support our farm expenses and expand our rescue services. When some men go through a midlife crisis they get a sportscar. I went away for part of a summer to learn how to drive an 8 horse hitch from one of the best teamsters in the country Roger and Linda Thoms. I started to collect equipment, tack and of course more Clydesdales.

We started a breeding program and had a foal (one of the coolest nights of my life). I met Bonnie Jean, one of the best (female) teamsters in the country, she can drive a big hitch better than most men. I bought her hitch wagon,Cooter and adopted two of her old hitch horses that are retired. We spent a lot of money, had a lot of fun and became a name in the Clydesdale World. I loved every second of it and still do.

My vet said to me once..."Wes you need to make a decision. You need to decide if you want to run a rescue facility or raise registered livestock." That question has haunted me from the time it came off his lips. He was right. You really cant rescue 200-400 animals a year and still afford to have thousands of dollars of show quality livestock. There isnt enough time (or money) to do both. To keep the rescue afloat, We have downsized a lot. We went from 22 horses (including boarders) to 7 (including boarders). I have sold most of my horse drawn equipment. Sold my Scottish Highland Cattle to my best friend. We don't have much left of our registered breeding livestock. My 2 girls have their 2 show horses (both are rescues and I love to watch them beat the rich girls on their expensive horses at shows), I still have jake and the 2 old guys that I promised Bonnie I would keep. Everyone else has found a great home and I have kept up with the bills. All except Cooter.

Cooter is one of my favorite Clydes ever. He is 7 the same age as Jake when I got him. He is a real character and has a great personality. I made the decision this week to sell Cooter for the sake of the farm. Several "big " Clyde farms have contacted me. I have a guy coming this weekend to drive with me. He has a mare that he pleasure drives now and then for fun. She lost her hitch mate and is lonely....I have good vibes. The fact of the matter, going through a midlife crisis doesnt always mean you have to buy a sportscar....It sometimes means you might have to part with what you love personally for what is best for your family, farm and future. Going through a midlife crisis is NOT being selfish or self-centered. It is no longer about what makes you happy, it is about the bigger picture.

Good 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.