Difficult Animal Decisions


Fancy in 2006

So we got our guard llama Fancy in 2006 at 6 years of age.  She was difficult from the beginning.  She kicked me when she arrived, and it has been downhill ever since.  She spit, kicked and cried like she was being beaten whenever we tried to help her with toe trimming, shearing or immunizations.


Fancy in the llama stanchion

She had an eye tumor removed under sedation by the vet and ever since then she has been prone to eye infections.  We would give her a shot of antibiotic, it would clear up and then come back again.  Then she went deaf, and then blind in one eye.  When I checked her last August she was in fine condition but then when I checked her in January she was quite thin.

I made the decision to give her extra food with wetted alfalfa cubes and  grain to see if I could get weight on her as well as an antibiotic injection.  Although she acted OK she couldn’t get up while we were away, and she was still quite thin.  We decided to put her down.  It is a hard decision because we could have decided to get the vet to see if there was a fixable problem with her weight, but she was already deaf and mostly blind as well as 17 years old.  As a guard llama she was not going to be able to do her job anymore.  But we did spend a lot of money removing the eye of our ancient house cat who is not going to be a good mouser anymore.  These decisions are hard.  But I have to tell myself we are not an animal rescue, and we cannot spend unlimited money on these animals.  But it is still hard.


Last photo of Fancy

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11 Responses to Difficult Animal Decisions

  1. Hard decision, but totally get where you’re coming from. For a guard llama who wasn’t the easiest to be around, you gave her a wonderful life 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thanks! I do not think she would agree when we were doing llama maintenance with her, but otherwise we let her be. She was a good guard and for that I am going to miss her.

  2. No question, I totally understand and respect your decision that no one could or should make you feel guilty about. It was one made out of kindness and compassion. I know all too well how hard it is to find that balance between their needs and care, and being able to continue to provide for the needs of the others as well as yourself. Even rescues make those same tough decisions.

    • Donna says:

      Wow Kim, from you in particular I feel better. I still have a hard time knowing when to call the vet and when to let nature take its course. I have definitely tortured animals with last minute attempts to save their life and am trying to find that balance. Hopefully we got a little closer with Fancy. I did let her get quite thin and stopped treating the eye infections as aggressive because I couldn’t see that she was suffering. But so hard to know.

  3. Lois Moore says:

    Like you Donna, I have found that I seldom feel that I get it “right”. They can be so stoic and how can we, as humans, interpret suffering in a way that helps us make a clear decision at the right time? I believe that this has been the most challenging part of my life as a shepherdess/farmer, finding that balance between prolonging a life which is uncomfortable, and ending one sooner than need be. And this because we are given the responsibility of making the decision to end the lives of our animal companions in the most compassionate way possible…those that we have loved immensely and those who have served us well.

  4. Kathy says:

    Donna, I Know how hard a decision it was for you, but know that many of us would have done the same. There is a time when we must do that part of our job we so dislike and know it is kinder in the long run for our charges even if it tears our hearts apart making it.
    I am facing putting my ram down as well. I know it’s coming. But I still know it may be better for him.
    Blessed be.

  5. Fred Hinrichsen says:

    Might this be the Schoonover family descending from Stanley Schoonover and Cady & Marge Schoonover?

  6. Pingback: 2017 Kind Of Sucked | Schoonover Farm Blog

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