I was so excited when George had finally been moved down to Cardiff. I was thinking to myself it was going to be just like old times, him following me where ever I go, resting his head on my shoulder not realising just how heavy he was and just genuinely enjoying each others company.
Unfortunately, we are a far way away from that at the moment. I have to keep reminding myself it’s been 18 months since he was in my care and from the state of him when he arrived probably a good year since he was handled and groomed properly. Don’t get me wrong he’s in perfect health, but the amount of dead skin and mud caked under his coat suggested the loving home I thought I’d left him in was not what it seemed.
That first interaction on Wednesday was perfect, he stood calmly eating while I groomed him, when leading him out he was a little nervous of the alpacas but a swift trot past them and he was fine, once in his field he immediately started to eat and he was fine. Bringing him the following Saturday was easy, he had a few moments but went into his stable fine. Come Sunday I had to wrestle him past the alpaca, wrestle him into his stable and trying to groom him while he spun violently around his stable was a nightmare.
The next weekend I couldn’t get to him on the Saturday as I was unwell. I dragged myself out of bed on the Sunday and hoped George would have had enough time to settle. I got him out of his field fine but halfway up the drive he spotted the curly haired little devils and dragged me all the way back to his field (my shoulder is still sore now). After crying in both frustration and pain I put him back in his field having achieved nothing and went home.
He got moved into a new field that evening.
This weekend I forced my boyfriend to come with me on the Saturday, we got George up fine, but he still wasn’t impressed being in his stable. He was still spinning in circles not knowing where to look, although the occasional mint did distract him for a few seconds each time.
Yesterday I thought I was going to get a repeat of the previous Sunday, he started refusing to walk forward once he’d spotted the alpaca but a few calming words and I got him to outside of his stable, he refused to go in. I tied him up outside and brushed away the mud and saw to the bites on his bum. Once the alpacas had moved into view again he proceeded to dance around on the spot and snort at them but soon he realised they weren’t interested and calmed down.
Handling George used to be so easy; I wouldn’t need to hold his lead rope he’d just follow me, I wouldn’t need to walk into his field to get him as he’d be at the gate waiting for me, he’d stand calmly while I groomed him and groom me back; there was an inherent trust between us. I brought him down here with such expectation that I was a little devastated when the reality kicked in the for him that bond was gone.
I’m hopeful we’ll get it back, it’s just going to take some work and patience from me.