Llambert the Llama is a guard animal.
For the past eight years, his job has been to watch over the sheep and protect them from stray dogs and coyotes.
He is not supposed to be cute and cuddly.
He doesn't need to be friendly.
He doesn't even need to like me.
And that's okay. While I admire what he does, I don't particularly like working with him. Over the years, he's spit on me, been difficult to catch and hard to move.
I remind myself that he is a guard animal. And, as an animal, he has occasional grooming and medical needs.
Once a year, I find Llambert's halter and use grain to lure him into a horse stall. When the vet arrives, he sedates the llama, trims his hooves, deworms and vaccinates him. Then, I trim Llambert's coat so he can stay cool during the summer months.
It's a successful year when no one is kicked while sedating the llama and when most of Llambert's hair is cut.
Because I don't want spend hundreds of dollars on electric trimmers, I use my $20 hand shears, and I work against the clock. Once he comes out of sedation, the hair trimming party is over.
Over the years, I've gotten a little faster with the trim job. Though, I'm not sure I've gotten better.
I remind myself that he is a guard animal. He doesn't need to be pretty.
And it will grow out.