For whatever reason, llama rescue has gotten a bad rap over the past few years. Even the owners, when faced with dispersing their herds, feel a sense of failure at having to turn their llamas over to a “rescue” group. But there’s no stigma in rescue! Almost 90% of our intakes come from folks who just can’t keep them any more. These are conscientious breeders and owners who have had drastic life changes: death or divorce in the family, health problems, aging, moving, and recently, military deployment. Rather than risk putting their llamas on the market, they can release them to a rescue group for fostering and eventual rehoming. No shame in that! Additionally, we have also taken in many animals that were abused or neglected.
Llama rescue organizations do not compete with reputable breeders. All males and females are placed with a non-breeding contract. Geldings may be housed with females under certain circumstances. Especially for a first-time owner, the advice offered by mentors is a big help in understanding and meeting the needs of the llamas. SWLR strives to train llamas so they will tolerate being vaccinated, having their toenails trimmed, and being sheared; they will lead easily and load for transport. In some situations, training, or the completion of training will be left to the adopter. Training all these skills requires time with a skilled trainer for each llama. Typically, llamas arrive at SWLR with no training. All animals are vetted and any health problems are treated.
What About Fostering?
If you have extra pasture and shelter space, you are needed! Lots of times, llamas come from one part of the country, but available foster homes are states away. We need more folks to offer long- or short-term temporary sanctuary to llamas awaiting adoption. Unlike with adoption, we reimburse veterinary costs, though the day-to-day maintenance falls upon the foster caretaker. It’s critical that we have approved locations to take surrendered llamas, and there are never enough available.
How Can You Help?
SWLR is funded solely by private donations and adoption/surrender fees. We also happily accept tax-deductible contributions of tack, feed, or other equipment to assist in maintaining the llamas' care. As mentioned above, we need foster homes, as well as transport help… and sometimes just folks to come out and help shear, trim toenails and give vaccinations, and spend some time with the animals. Perhaps as important is spreading the word. Llama rescue helps save lives. Too many llamas are discarded, unnecessarily euthanized, or abandoned. It just doesn’t have to happen, and you can help!