"Wheel Chair" Driving Llamas…
Just When You Thought You Had Seen It All!!!

by Ron Shinnick

Let me just tell you this, I have been fortunate enough to have seen lots of things that people do with their llamas over the years, but this one has to rate at the top of my most creative and unique list. This little story has its beginnings several years ago when I spoke with this lady from Virginia, Mona Sam's. Didn't know her at the time, just another llama phone call one evening You know how those are. But she shared with me her story about how she was working with handicapped children and adults and incorporating her llamas as a part of her instruction and work. Well, that didn't sound too strange or different at first. Besides I had heard about this type of thing before. You know, how well kids with disabilities seem to do with llamas and how well llamas interact with these young people. But as the conversation progressed I soon realized what I thought we were talking about and what she was really talking about was actually two different things.

It seems that Mona's real interest besides the students and the young people, is working with driving llamas, literally up and down and around the halls of these various schools she works at. If the story had stopped there we might have been ok. But there is more. Her kids not only learn how to correctly walk and handle a llama, but also how to actually put the driving harness on the llama, hitch the llama up and then take the whole thing off again. They also learn all the proper driving commands so they can stop and go as needed in those busy hallways. Lookout in those halls is all I have to say. But what really makes this so unique is what they hitch the llama to, a wheelchair. Once hitched to the wheelchair off they go down the hall ..... Now that sounds like fun. I wish we had done that when I was in school. I know the driver must be having a blast.

I assume there must be more to this wheel chair driving than what I have just attempted to describe. You have to understand that I'm still trying to gather all the particulars about this like how they hitch the harness to the wheel chair etc... I wonder how ALSA would feel about this.... Hmm! But I do know they have somebody at the front of the llama helping to lead them through the hallways and clear the way. I also found out that sometimes for Mona to get her driving llamas to the correct hallway for school she and her llamas have to load up in a elevator and travel up several floors. How would you like the elevator doors to open and have a llama staring you in the face. Certainly would make for a memorable ride. Now those are some good llamas.

Earlier this summer Mona, some of her friends from Virginia and those good llamas she has trained, stopped by our farm to see how the rest of us folks drive llamas and to get a few pointers. That is, the old fashioned way, using a cart. I think Mona said something like, "Now that is a novel idea." Referring of course to using a cart. The truth is, I was hoping to get a few pointers myself about this wheelchair driving thing. Well, we had a great time that day riding around the farm with a few of our driving llamas. We even hitched up some of her experienced wheelchair llamas to a cart just to see how they would do. Guess what? They caught on to this old fashion driving really quick..... just like old pros in no time at all.

After our day of driving, Mona and her friends headed up to Chattanooga, Tennessee, just a short drive from our place, to stay the night. I later received various reports, from reliable sources of course, that there had been several llamas sightings in and around the Chattanooga area. Apparently they had seen a lady, possibly with several passengers, driving a llama and cart. Go figure!!!

I have to admit that this has certainly inspired me. In fact, so much so that I have a friend I attend church with that has to use a wheelchair. Guess what? I have got to see how this works..... Look out David here I come...................... Have fun and we just might see you in a hallway.

Web Site:http://www.llamasbythellakes.com/
Email Ron: rshinnick@hotmail.com
Copyright © 2003 Ron Shinnick  
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