My parents live on what we call The Ranch, WestWind Acres. It’s not really. It’s only 2 Â½ acres but that’s a lot more than we’ve ever had and it’s a lot more than most people ever dream of having. Their property, with the beginnings of a house, a renovated barn, and various farm equipment, sits at the base of the highest mountains in Arizona. There is no obstruction to the view and you can literally walk to the base of the mountains in less than 5 minutes.
I have spoken often of my love of animals, notably, our dogs. We began breeding beagles and bassets almost 4 years ago. Because we loved each one, we had a hard time selling them or giving them away. They became family. At this point, we have 7 beagles, 1 basset, 1 basset mix, and 1 terrier. They are our children.
We’ve also become known around town as the place that will take animals that need a temporary home or somewhere to stay until others can find room. Some of these animals stay forever. We have had pigs (full-sized and pot-bellied), ferrets, and a llama.
Because we’ve been surrounded by so many animals over the years, we’ve had to see some pass on. We’ve had to have some put to sleep. Ferrets get liver disease very easily. We’ve had 3 put to sleep. One beloved pig, Albert Einswine, was hit by a car that came onto our property and because pigs are so sensitive, his injuries, although not life-threatening to most animals, killed him.
It never gets easy. They have become a part of the family. They are special to us and hold a place in our hearts.
Last night we heard the baying of the hounds in what we call the North 40. At the furthest reaches of our property, the beagles and basset sat moaning to the moon. Below them, in the area he loved the most, our sweet llama, Como se Llama, had passed into the next realm.
If you’ve never been near llamas, it’s hard to explain their draw. They have beautifully long eyelashes, sweet personalities, and wonderful dispositions. Como se would follow me from the door to my car in hopes of getting the treats I always carried in my pockets for him. He would come running, full speed, across the yard to greet us when we came home. He would run and play with the dogs. Sometimes we weren’t sure if he thought he was a pig or if the pigs thought they were llamas. He was a special gift to our lives.
I will remember him fondly.
It is probably difficult for those without pets to understand. I appreciate that. For my family and me though, he was a special part of our lives.