Orphaned, disabled baby alpaca walks again thanks to wheelchair


(NBC) – When a woman in Germany first saw a disabled baby alpaca at a friend’s farm, her heart melted and she resolved to give the tiny orphan a home and a special wheeled harness for walking with.

Named Marie, the animal’s two back legs were left severely damaged by a traumatic birth that killed her mother and her sister.

After bringing her new pet home to the farm near Frankfurt where she works, Ronja Pohl took Marie to a veterinarian, who amputated one back leg and put her in touch with a company that makes wheelchairs for animals.

Marie, strapped in to her custom-made wheeled frame and harness, now totters happily around Pohl’s barn.

In Texas, one Rio Grande Valley family said they have alpaca fever after they decided to create the first alpaca farm.

During a trip to Peru two years ago, Marta Cardenas says she fell in love with alpacas and wanted to buy some for her grandchildren.

“We bought 7 and that’s how we started about two years ago, and then it’s turned into 25 alpacas now,” said Marta Cardenas, Owner, Alpaquita Ranch.

After they held a birthday party with the alpacas, pictures from the party went viral.

“That’s how people started contacting us, and then we thought oh yea we can give a couple of tours. You know people would come in and see our alpacas. and then it kind of went crazy here in the valley, so now we’re totally booked until June,” said Cardenas.

Alpaquita Ranch in Raymondville offers tours where you can learn about alpacas. All have unique personalities, Cardenas says some can be feisty and conceited.

“Some of them do not like to be petted up here,” said Cardenas while touching the alpaca’s head. “Smoke is one of our males here, and he’s just a sweetheart. You can hug him, you can kiss him, he’ll kiss you.”

The tour also offers time to pet, feed, and even walk with the furry friends, and for an extra fee, they can also pack you a snack to have with the alpacas.

“I thought I was the only one who liked alpacas. I didn’t know the entire Valley would like alpacas, and we’ve gotten people from Houston, Corpus, San Antonio,” said Cardenas

Cardenas says it’s been a learning experience caring for the animals, and they want to continue to grow the farm.

“Now we have alpaca fever, we just want to buy more alpacas for you guys, so the community can come out to see them,” said Cardenas.

Alpaquita Ranch is now taking appointments for July. If you would like to make your reservations you can click here.

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