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Llama letter: animal owner offers thanks and clarification

Well, quite the day was Tuesday. While my wife Carolyn was in Kentucky for the famous Derby, my daughter Casey and I were in a bit of a track meet ourselves.

As everyone knows by now, one of our llamas got out of her enclosure and went for a sight seeing tour of Ootischenia and Castlegar. While it has been written that Cocoa has been on the “lam” three times, the truth is this is her first escape. At her previous home in Fruitvale, they were kept in a pasture with no complete fence system and as such just walked out and into the neighbourhood. We don't know what caused her to take up high jumping and leap the fence, but I'm pretty sure she was spooked by something. Possibly a bear or even strong wind.

I have heard the radio coverage was hilarious and so was the story as described in the Castlegar Source. In fact I believe even some of the crew helping track her down had a pretty entertaining time doing it.

Now that it's over, Casey and I can laugh about it too, but I can assure you, it was nothing but stress for us to see an animal member of our family terrified, lost and alone in the middle of Columbia Avenue. Casey is a very smart 11-year-old  who knew full well that if the public became in danger, Cocoa could be running her last marathon. Although extremely upset and sore from a three-and-a-half-hour chase, she remained composed and remembered everything she has learned about handling llamas, which she put to good use in the capture.

Of course, we had a great deal of help. We would like to thank very much Const. Kyle Plotnikoff, animal control officer Rick Smith, some city councillors and the Castlegar Fire Department for helping get this situation under control. There were also numerous citizens that offered help. Thank you as well.

Kyra Hoggan has given Casey and I great credit for giving the llamas a new good forever home and we thank her for that, but the true champion of this cause is my wonderful wife, and Casey’s Mom, Carolyn. It was her old friend Darcy that contacted her about a new home for the girls. In fact, not only did Carolyn lead the adoption cause, she also ponied up the $15,000 for fencing to give them a proper living space. This, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who knows her, as most of our friends would love to be reincarnated as one of her dogs. I think if there was a homeless gnat out there somewhere, it would soon be living on one of our house plants.

All kidding aside, things worked out well for Cocoa and us because of great people willing to help. We truly do thank you all. And, as for why Cocoa’s sister didn't take off with her? Maybe it was just Karma. After all her name is Dolly. Yup, that's right. Dolly Llama. Have one more chuckle on us.

With sincere thanks,

Bill, Carolyn and Casey