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.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Llama 99

I usually like Wednesdays, the work week is half over and the coaster is going down the tracks. I also like Bactrian Camels a lot, hump day always makes me think of them. Today started out like any other day, (watch out when I start a blog like this you know it isn't going to be good). I got up at 5:30 am (as usual) and let the Border Collies out. The Border Collies wake up about 15 minutes before me and run from the bed to the door knowing that there is "stuff to do" outside. I got up and made coffee. Got some wood piled into the outside wood furnace; it is so cold. I am really ready for spring at this point, enough of winter. Then I let the dog boarders out into the kennels and head for the barn.

By the time I get outside, I can always hear the roosters crowing and the horses shuffling around their stalls. It isn't light yet but all of the animals know that I am coming and we all look forward to getting the day started. I like doing morning chores, it is just the critters and I in the a.m. Animals love to wake up and I have the best reason to get out of bed every morning. I usually get up before the alarm clock lets me know that I need to be out of bed. This morning wasn't much different than it has been for the last 3 weeks. First, I take hay out back and let the horses out. Then I put the llama grain and hay out in the front courtyard. Then I open the door so the llamas can go outside (weather pending).

The llamas love going outside but we lock them inside at night. I don't want them sleeping outside when it is this cold; I want them burning calories to live, not stay warm. I always stand by the door as all 98 llamas go bouncing by. Now since they know that there is grain out there waiting, the llamas have a "take no prisoner" approach to being the first 40 outside. When I first grained the NY 100 a week after they arrived from Montana, they walked through the grain. The llamas really didn't even know what it was. They are now getting free choice hay and water 24 hours a day and grain once a day. They also get free choice Stillwater Llama Minerals, which they love. By this weekend, I want to start graining them twice a day. With llamas starved this bad, you must take things slow. They didn't starve over night and getting them built back up will take time also.

The last thing that I do before getting my coffee is physical therapy with the llama that was too weak to walk upon arrival almost 3 weeks ago. I will always try to save a llama if they have "the look" in their eyes that they want to live. Unfortunately, with most llamas, once they go down into a kush....they almost never get back up for long. I had made it my personal mission to save this guy and get him back up on his feet. I felt that he had survived way too much to die in NY when he was home free on llama easy street. This morning, "Llama 99" as I've been calling him didn't look at me with his same "Wes we can do this" look in his eyes. I had built him a llama bouncy bounce with a sling and elastic straps, and with his new jacket (donated by Useful Llama Supplies). He was the best dressed llama in the barn. This morning he had the "Wes, when are you going to let me die?" look in his eyes. I told him that it was cold, told him that he was in a bad mood because the blood wasn't circulating yet and went through the stretches and production that I have done for almost the last 3 weeks before I could enjoy a cup of coffee for ten minutes before I have to get showered and dressed for school. I thought that he was just having a crappy morning, it happens to all of us.
At 11:15 today I ran home to meet with another great reporter from the Greenville News. NY Ag and Markets had just stopped at the farm, I'll catch up with them when they have an appointment. Cornell University is sending out 20+ vets on Feb 17th to help me give the llamas their vaccinations and parasite medications. We are also going to read microchips and take photos for the Beekman Boys Fundraiser on that day. As the reporter and I went into the barn, I realized that Llama Number 99 wasn't doing well in the chute. I immediately knew he died shortly after I left him this a.m. after physical therapy. I knew that he was saying good bye this a.m. and had given up the fight and will to live. I was angry that he had tried so hard and given up. I have only had one other llama get up after being down that long, maybe I should have euthanized him instead of giving him almost three weeks to try to get up. At least he died knowing that he was in a great place with lots of food, surrounded by the llamas he had known for years in Montana. He died knowing that his friends and their story would live on. I am selfish, I wanted him to live so I could say I saved him....sometimes you just have to let things go you can't control. I have to go now, I cant write anymore and as I told the reporter that was with me.....few people have ever seen me cry. WES


joshkp said...

We're very sorry, Wes. In #99's eyes, you were the animal who helped him. He didn't know that death was coming, but he knew that his life had gotten better.

Josh, Brent, and Polka Spot

Roze said...

Hugs to you...what great work you're doing. 99 died k owing you loved him. What more is there for any of us?

Barbara said...

The only way forward is to keep walking and to honor the departed by caring for the living.

ThriftShoppeGirl said...

G-d Bless you for the work you do, for the love you give, and for the lives you work so hard to save.
There is a special place for you in this world, and over the Rainbow bridge with the animals that have left.

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.