For the lost and abandoned

by Jolyn Low

I spent my Tuesday on an alpaca farm and with my friends.

Woke up at 5am, checked the patients and then caught the train to the city before taking the one from the city down to Mandurah. The train ride was quite relaxing and wonderful at that time, since most of the world wasn’t up yet and travelling to the regional areas of WA. I was enjoying my music, and reading the introduction to Wuthering Heights on my kindle as I made my way down.

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Taban picked me up from the train station and we drove about 20-30 minutes to the farm. When we arrived we were greeted by the strangest assortment of dogs – a border collie that was obsessed with the game of fetch, and a tiny doggo that liked pats.

We went into the shearing shed and helped to herd the alpacas into little pens. The white ones had to be separated from the greys, browns and blacks as their fleece are of different value.

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Little crias (baby alpacas) which make the strangest, cutest whines.

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After shearing all the adults and the little crias, we had lunch, and boy was I starving. It was wonderful being fed all sorts of fresh produce, and I had honeydew! It’s been quite some time since I’ve had so hearty a meal, and if this is what I will have when I go for more farm pracs I cannot wait.

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The little doggo.

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After we had finished shearing the males after lunch, we went around the farm feeding the weaners and those being halter trained. I was sitting on a hay bale on the back of a truck, and it was exciting to say the least.

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We were treated to an autopsy of a cria later, and learnt that they had some unique features – their liver and the coiled colon. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants so they have 3 compartments to their ‘stomach’. Had a mini quiz at the place as well since there were skeletal remains scattered around the whole field. Am horrible at recognising the bones but it was still insightful. Got to bring some samples back (for educational purposes) as well! How cool is that?!

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I came back to get my assignment for the night, showered and then drove over for a Christmas dinner with my friends. It was lovely, and I had a wonderful time. Drove back at night and it was scary for my contact lenses were so dry, astigmatism makes the road lights shine too bright, and I stalled and kinda panicked on the steep slope when leaving the highway. Thankful for the guy who reversed and asked if I needed any help – and waited with me to make sure I made it safely through that wretched place.

Last night I had a visitor: little Rocket! He’s a spoodle: spaniel x poodle cross, and since he has some poodle in him, I was so very excited.

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Little bugger took over my pillow at one point in time.

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And this morning, Morrie decided to nap on my bed too. My bed has officially become a resting place for wayward animals. Please, all of you just make yourselves welcome.

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If this is the life I will lead, I will be satisfied.

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