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.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season to be Jolly and thankful for everything we all have ... friends, family, all types of critters, wildlife rescue facilities.... You get the drift. After my last post, I had to take a little break from my blogs. I never get sick of the animals, most of the folks I meet are cool people that do what they can to help an animal, send New York Wildlife Rescue Center a donation or help us out by volunteering up here. Just a quick reminder, there are some great products for sale in our store section of our website. For those of you that like to send out the support in the form of a check, you still have about two weeks to get the checks in for this tax year deduction.

I've spent the last few weeks catching up on reports, license renewals, rehab logs, etc. My individual Wildlife Rehabilitation Log for the DEC is 40 pages of wild birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. My RVS intake forms for the 40 raccoons, 10 skunks and a dozen bats are over 30 pages. This year alone, my log alone has over 200 wildlife entries. Add my wife's squirrels, and what our BOD and Associated Rehabbers in our network have done, I would not be surprised at all if the total for our group is well over 500 wild animals saved this year. It is NOT a contest to see how many animals I can save. I just do what I can do and we try to do things first class not half-assed, one animal at a time. Add in our domestic pet rescues, livestock and exotic animal rescues ... wow, no wonder I'm so tired lately. Being a perfectionist, I was complaining to a friend the other day about how much more I could do and was thinking out loud about how many more animals I could save. I often wonder if I am making a difference in the world ... maybe not, but as my friend pointed out, I make a big difference to the animals and kids I help. I do know that we wouldn't have a website and a lot of paperwork wouldn't have gotten done without the help of my very good friend Gayle Nastasi, visit her website from our links, it is great and she is very talented. I am lucky to have her as a friend and on our BOD.

When I was trying to figure out what to write about tonight, I figured I would start with my standard apology for not blogging. I don't want to do a reflection on the year (yet), but looking back over the last year ... we have accomplished more than many of the animal rescue facilities that have large budgets, with taxpayer support and paid staff members. I am very proud of what we have done. If I can keep up with fundraising, facility construction, rehabbing the animals, public relations, paperwork, my job teaching, my family and my wife ... we are going to build a facility here that will be second to none and will long outlive me.

In November I attended a NYS Falconers Banquet. It was a fun time, I bid on some great items in the secret auction. Unfortunately I didn't win any of it but hey, all it takes is a dollar and a dream. Also in November, I went to the NY Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's Conference in Lake George. It was a great conference, lots of great friends, food and drink (it is my vacation also). I went to as many of the classes as I could that were on Raptors. As always, I really learned a lot and it was well worth attending. Networking is half the battle of being a good rehabber. I got to see and meet a lot of great Wildlife Rehabbers at the conferences and I learn a lot over a few drinks. I really want to encourage EVERYONE to take the test and become a wildlife rehabilitator. Remember that becoming a rehabber is one of the most rewarding things you can do. You can put as much time into it as you can afford (mentally and financially) and say no when you are in over your head. The demand is huge for new rehabbers, I believe that there are only a couple of dozen licensed RVS Rehabbers that can legally do raccoons, skunks and bats in the entire STATE of NY. My wife is like most rehabbers, she found her niche, she only does squirrels. Some rehabbers only do rabbits (only have to be fed twice a day). Some only do baby birds, every 20 minutes ... yikes.... The key to being a good rehabber is having a good mentor. If you are interested in doing this crazy thing of saving wild animals, you MUST get a good mentor. A good teacher is better than any book and you will burn out if you don't get taught right and stay on the cutting edge in new techniques for giving animals (that often want to die) some life. I've had one of the best mentors; Kelly Martin has done this for over 20 years. She is President of NY Wildlife Rehab Council and she is one of the best rehabbers that I have ever met. You can go to DEC's website, order the study materials, enroll to take the test but it is almost impossible to figure out what license you need for what animals. It is impossible to keep track of renewals, applications and logs. I am the most organized person that I ever met and I often say "I need another license for that?" or "When is that form due?" or "No wonder why no one does this...." :) A good mentor is very important to show you how to do it right and keep your sanity in the process.

I have done my required hours working with Kelly, I have the hundreds of hours needed and have received my US Fish and Wildlife Federal Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit now. Kelly is a great teacher, she lets me learn some things on my own and then smiles when I figure it out, she often puts on her glasses when I now know I am going to see something new, she gives me a kick in the ass when I need it or am in need of a pep talk. I am waiting to receive my own Federal Special Purpose Migratory Bird Educational License. I will be learning how to rehab animals better for the rest of my life, it will be nice to be done collecting licenses.

Kelly lost a very special Raptor this week that anyone that has ever seen our educational shows knows well. Hooter the Great Horned Owl was one of Kelly's first educational raptors, added to her federal license in 1985. Hooter would go anywhere, would sit on your fist forever and was always the bird that never got off his stand, rarely gave us a hard time ... just the dream bird that will be missed greatly by all. I'm sorry for your loss Kelly.

Enough for tonight.

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.