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Sgt. Sandley and Shove

Our family lost one of the original partners in our yarn business this past week. Shove, the matriarch of our llama herd passed away Tuesday night.

Elaine and I have been friends with Shove for over eighteen years, She was the mother of Trip, Dillinger, Sox and Yank.

Our relationship with Shove started one Saturday a little over eighteen years ago at a llama ranch in Wiggins, Colorado.

Elaine and I decided to increase our llama herd (which at the time consisted of two male llamas) by purchasing a female llama. Elaine was in charge of the search for a suitable female. Somehow came upon a gentleman selling llamas in Wiggins. What the heck, I was up for a little road trip.

So, one particular Saturday, Elaine and I took off for Wiggins. I’m not sure what I expected to find, but I’m darn sure I was not expecting what I found.

The llama rancher was a well dressed, elderly guy who looked like a tall, thin clone of the fast food chicken guy, complete with white hair and goatee. Sgt. Sandley was an oasis of llama knowledge.

Sgt. Sandley told Elaine and I he was selling part of his herd as he was getting a little older. He was an accomplished llama trainer that had actually trained llamas to react to his voice commands. While Elaine and I were talking to him, Sgt. Sandley opened the tailgate on his pickup and said the word, “In” to his favorite llama. The llama jumped in the back of his pickup truck. He then said, “Out”, the llama jumped out.

While Sgt. Sandley was telling Elaine and I about how he had trained his llamas to be goodwill ambassadors for cheering up patients at hospitals and rest homes, I noticed he was staring at me.

Sgt. Sandley and I were discussing what happens when a llama poops in a hospital hallway when the staring got a little uncomfortable. I think Sgt. Sandley realized I was uncomfortable and he said,

Sgt.: May I touch your hair? Me: What? Sgt.: May I touch your hair? Me: Elaine, this guy wants to touch my hair! Sgt.: I should probably explain. I manufacture and sell hairpieces for men. You have wonderful hair.

Well, it was hard to argue with him about that. I let him touch my hair.

I’m sorry. I’ve been told to keep these stories about fiber and knitting. I start writing, before I know it I’m writing about me. The doctor thinks I will outgrow it in time. I think Elaine is losing hope.

After the hair touching was finished, Sgt. Sandley directed Elaine and I to a corral housing female llamas. I was attracted to a beautiful all black female who met me at the fence. The llama put her head on my chest and “shoved” me away from the fence. Yes, that was Shove. Seemed like an appropriate name for her.

Shove was a tough old llama. She lived through being attacked by the neighbors pitbulls. She did need about $1000 dollars of veterinary care. Shove lived through a rattlesnake bite. Shove (and I) lived through the birth of Yank. We can’t talk about that right know. I will start to drift towards writing about me. I am trying to get better.

Our family noticed Shove was slowing down and not hanging with the herd. Shove was succumbing to TOL (Tired of Life)

Wednesday morning I found Shove surrounded by the other llamas. She was gone. Wax (one of the males) was literally standing over her body keeping the other at bay.

Ivy tells me she heard the Pope said dogs can go to heaven. I hope that applies to Shove.

I have to go now. I need a Kleenex.

Our crazy lives!


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