Petting Zoo

We have a farm around the corner from our cottage where BR keeps his polo ponies.  BR loves animals.  I could honestly do without the horses because I don’t find them all that “friendly”, but he loves them, so that’s what matters.

Then one day BR went to a fair and saw the cutest, friendliest alpaca ever.

BR: I’m totally getting one of those.

Me: You should totally get one of those.

So without doing any research on alpacas whatsoever, we found the closest alpaca farm and set out to buy one.  Now, I really have to give BR points for spontaneity here because it generally takes him an abnormally long time to make a decision on anything.  At least on anything practical.  Like 6 months to pick a faucet, if you get my drift.

But oh no, today he was a man on a mission and we were coming home one way or another with a big, fluffy, adorable alpaca who would live happily ever after at our farm.

I won’t go into detail about everything that happened at the alpaca farm, but I will say I started to get a bit hesitant when I noticed how skittish the alpacas were in general, and how it took three people to wrangle one, put it in a headlock, and eventually get a harness on it while the alpaca was kicking and throwing spit-balls at them.  Apparently he was one of the “friendly” ones.

And then the alpaca lady asked us which other ones we wanted.  We looked at her a little quizzically and explained that we just wanted one.  She shook her head and explained that alpacas were herd animals, and you couldn’t keep just one.  So we looked at each other and agreed to take another one, but she shook her head again and said we had to take three.  Three?  Yes three.  So we picked out two other “friendly” ones, watched them get wrestled into their harnesses, and then she insisted we couldn’t leave without also taking two barn kittens.  “Gift with purchase” she said.

So BR wrote her a check and we were just about to leave when she asked what would be protecting the alpacas.  We asked her from what exactly, and she explained that alpacas were really just large sheep (at least in the eyes of predators) and that if we didn’t have something to protect them they would get eaten by wolves or coyotes.

BR: So what do they need for protection?

Alpaca lady: Well you’ll have to get a donkey.

A donkey?  She didn’t sell donkeys, but she could give us the name of someone who did.

So we went to the donkey farm, and the next thing we knew we were now coming home with three alpacas, two barn kittens and one donkey.  Awesome.

Me: BR, what are we going to do with all these animals?  We’re not farmers!

BR: Blondie, don’t worry.  The animals will take care of each other.  And besides, I’ve always wanted my own petting zoo.

Me: Like, as a side business?

BR: No Blondie, my own petting zoo.  For myself.

Me: Ummm… ok.  Don’t you think this is getting a little “Neverland Ranch-ish?”  Like, is it normal for a grown man to want his own petting zoo?

BR: Blondie are you kidding me?  What grown man wouldn’t want his own petting zoo.  Do you have any idea how awesome petting zoos are?  Obviously you’re not a farmer.

Me: Obviously neither one of us is a farmer!  Which is why I’m starting to question this rather large commitment we just made to all the livestock we just purchased!

Eventually the animals did settle in.  The donkey is super cute, although he bites a little.  The alpacas are not even remotely friendly, and one of them in particular is a real asshole.  But the cats are adorable.

Then about a year later we were on a trip to Switzerland and we saw some highland cows.

BR: I’m totally getting one of those.

Me: You should totally get one of those.

I should have learned my lesson the first time, because he totally did get one of those.  Only instead of a cow we ended up with a bull.  A bull who BR decided not to get fixed in case one day he decided to “breed” him.  Again I reminded him that we are not farmers and maybe he wanted to rethink the whole “breeding” thing, and again he told me to stop being such a dream crusher.

The bull is now enormous and everyone (including all the other animals) is terrified of it.  His horns are massive.  He charges.  If you don’t fill up his water bucket he gets mad, knocks it over, and head-buts it to the opposite end of the field.  Personally I’m afraid of getting gored to death, but BR insists that I’m overreacting.

Then last weekend I was making lunch at the cottage and BR ran into the kitchen.  I assumed he was hungry.

Me: Lunch is almost ready, are you hungry?

BR: Blondie, I can’t eat now, the lambs have escaped.

Me: Um, what lambs?

BR: Our lambs!

Me: What do you mean our lambs?  When did we get lambs?

BR: This morning!  But they’ve already escaped so we have to go catch them!

Me: When were you going to tell me you got… actually never mind.  You better go, the lambs are on the lam!


And so he left.  It took two hours, five men, an ATV, a motorcycle, a rowboat (?) and a lasso, but eventually they were caught.  They were chased by the bull, the donkey, the alpacas, the horses, five men, and various machinery. So I’m pretty sure those lambs hate our guts.  They were plucked out of their nice little lamb field and literally dropped in the middle of the Hunger Games.

Welcome home lambs.  Welcome home.

2 thoughts on “Petting Zoo

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