20 Apr

Some days I want to quit.  I work so hard to keep my animals happy and healthy, and it seems like everything just works against me.  I hate feeling so helpless.


I finally got Aurora to a point where she was healthy enough to go back out, and then it was Tony.


Now he’s healthy enough to go back out, but now it’s Buster.

Tony and Pluto

I’ve wondered for about three weeks if he was sick, but I couldn’t pinpoint anything, and I told myself I can’t really be so unlucky to have another llama with ulcers.  The symptoms are so subtle.  There’s weight loss, which is hard to tell on a llama sometimes.  All three of the llamas with the main herd lost some weight over the winter because it was a horrible winter.  I finally have all the llamas so I can feel them and check their weight whenever I walk past them, but it’s hard this time of year because they spend so much time out in pasture.


Another symptom is for them to lie down more than they should, and I did notice him lying by the fence, but I told myself he wanted to be back with Aurora because they are bonded and the other two are snooty towards him.

Aurora and Buster

One day last week, I didn’t see Buster with the other two girls on the bottom, so I walked the whole thing looking for him, and when I got back to the barnyard, he was just standing in the barn with them. I caught him and he was a little bit thinner, but I couldn’t check anything else because he decided he was having none of it and pushed through me.  I couldn’t hold him.  He was strong and fiesty and acting fine.

Odie and Buster

Then on Thursday, he came back up to the barn, but he was ribby thin.  He was weak and unsteady on his feet.  I checked his eyes, and he was completely anemic.  I wormed him, and built a pen around him in the barn, so I could make sure he had food and water, but he wasn’t eating.


He died the next day.  I can only assume it was either worms or a bleeding ulcer (which is my true suspicion in hindsight).  He went so quickly.  I feel horrible, and I am so frustrated because they are hard to tell when they don’t feel well and there’s nothing I can do really to prevent it.  It’s primarily stress, but the crazy up and down temperatures are enough to stress them enough to give them ulcers.

8 Responses to “Buster”

  1. Robyn Nichols at 8:47 pm #

    I am so sorry, Teresa. It is so obvious how much you love your animals. I will pray for peace for you.

  2. janicead at 12:30 am #

    Oh, my. You work so hard to care for all the animals. I know you give a piece of yourself to each of your animals. May your days be better in the coming months.

  3. Mary Ann at 11:07 am #

    We gave our llamas to a rescue because even after four years, they were stressful. One got brainworm at the rescue and died…the others were fine…and our lives were so much easier after their departure…

  4. BMW at 1:21 pm #

    As I kept reading, I kept thinking no, no, no. Please don’t let it be bad news. You are completely dedicated to your animals and are devastated when you lose one. How old was Buster? I am very sad to hear your news. God bless and don’t be discouraged. You did all that was possible to help him.

    • Teresa at 4:36 pm #

      He was fourteen or fifteen. I never got the papers on him to have a birthdate.

  5. suz at 11:44 am #

    i’m so sorry for your loss. it’s obvious how much you love and watch out for your animals and how hard you try. –suz in ohio

  6. I am so sorry. My husband accidentally killed by suffocation a chicken he was trying to save from a crop impactation and both of us still feel bad about it a month later.. We count our experience in the lives of the animals lost..and hopefully over time because of that mistake another animal lives which would have died otherwise. There is a cycle of life and death, sorrow and joy, loss and gain on a farm, which makes us closer to God and a part of the whole (as John Doe said) in a way which is not equalled by any other occupation I think… But nothing makes the deaths easier..

  7. Jeanne at 10:21 am #

    I’m so sorry about Buster.

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