Eddie the alpaca has been given a whole new life after being rescued and freed from a debilitating layer of fleece.
The Llama Sanctuary, located near Tappen at the Recline Ridge EcoPark, is home to over 30 llamas and alpacas and a few rescue cats.
One of the sanctuary’s most recent additions is Eddie, an intact Suri alpaca the sanctuary was asked to take in, as he was in need and not being handled appropriately.
Part of this mishandling was his grooming, as he was saddled with an unruly, heavy fleece that made it difficult for him to walk.
Sanctuary owners Lynne Milsom and David Chapman said Eddie was easy to halter and load into a trailer and the overgrown alpaca barely moved for the entire four and a half hour journey to his new home.
Eddie is underweight with crooked toes and mite-infested feet, further evidence of poor previous care.
Although cold winter weather is on the horizon, the bulk of Eddie’s heavy coat had to be removed for his health and safety.
Milsom and Chapman said they spent a good hour cutting away the fleece and removed 30 pounds from Eddie’s coat that was soaked with urine and crusted with feces, as he hadn’t been able to keep himself clean.
Eddie should actually be warmer without that layer stretched over his spine and kidneys, said the sanctuary.
Twenty per cent of Eddie’s body weight was in that removed fleece and he was able to freely move his legs and tail for the first time in what the sanctuary owners estimate has been years.
Two pieces of steel wire were embedded near his tail, so that was removed and he had a much-needed toenail trim.
The sudden increase in leg mobility seems to be causing Eddie some leg pain, and he didn’t take to eating much at first, said the sanctuary.
However, he now seems to be much more relaxed and is chewing cud, which Chapman and Milsom say is a great indicator of recovery.
“We must still do a full dental and mouth check, but wish him to be even more settled (first). As he is eating we are not overly concerned.”
Eddie will have oils applied to his face and feet to treat the mite infestation, but improving the immune system is key to repelling mites.
There are many ways to help Eddie and all the llamas at the sanctuary. Beez Bottle Drives in Enderby has started a bottle drive fund for the sanctuary, and will pick up empty bottles and cans to be returned with profits donated to the llamas and alpacas’ care.
As well, donations can be made at llamasanctuary.com and tours to meet the animals are available almost every day. Call 250-948-3675 to book.
The sanctuary is now finalizing a special winter events schedule, which will be updated on its Facebook page.