and enough drugs to combat the bubonic plague.
But before we could even begin playing doctor, the first activity in our fun-filled day was weighing our alpacas. I assumed this would be a fairly benign activity, but I quickly learned an alpaca doesn’t like anything which interferes with its familiar daily routine. So while stepping on a scale and standing motionless for a few seconds may not seem like a big deal for us humans – except of course, for the shock of reading the dial – alpacas see it as way outside their comfort zone. It took both Roxanne and me – one pulling and one pushing – to get them on the scale. (Note: one “pushes” an alpaca only with great care, otherwise a swift, hard kick and a huge bruise can be your reward.) Also, since alpacas have four legs, trying to get all of these legs on the scale simultaneously makes trying to stuff an angry cat into a sack seem like child’s play by comparison.
Once the alpacas had been weighed, we could proceed with administering the medication. Since I am an engineer and Roxanne is a computer programmer, I wasn’t sure which one of us was going to handle the shots. Consequently, I was relieved when Roxanne grabbed the first needle and told me to “hold that alpaca.” My relief was short-lived, however, as I tried to wrestle this animal to a standstill. Since your typical alpaca weighs somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds and I weight 175, it would seem we were evenly matched. But I quickly realized that the alpaca body is solid muscle, wherein a good portion of my poundage is solid flab. Secondly, God has given alpacas four strong legs for hopping among the ridges of the Andes Mountains; while I am a bipedal homo sapien whose “hopping” is done between my Lazy-Boy and the refrigerator. Putting these factors together, I had little
chance of holding an upset alpaca; especially when Roxanne was advancing on it with a long, wicked-looking needle.
Needless to say, the rest of that day was a long and difficult one as we wrestled with one alpaca after another. Not only did we have to give them shots, but we (read that as I) had to force a yucky, chalk-like substance down their throats. This activity
required I grab the animal in question around the neck and stick a long metal tube into its mouth. As I then depressed the plunger forcing a strange fluid into the alpaca’s mouth, Roxanne would admonish me to not hurt the “poor baby.” Of course, all the time this “poor baby” was slamming my body repeatedly against the side of the barn. If things went well, I would manage to get more
of the medicine into the alpaca than onto me.
Finally Roxanne said those lovely words, “we are done!” I counted my appendages and gratefully realized I still had all of them. I was covered with bruises and tomorrow my poor muscles would painfully tell me about the mistreatment they had
suffered today. But we had accomplished our purpose and we had a whole month to recover before we would have to repeat the process. Yes, life was good!