Lanark’s Latte, a female huacaya is one of the first two alpacas we ever bought. Latte and Primrose, the other “first girl” were bought from the Lanark Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1999. Latte is the daughter of the famous sire Peruvian Pizarro. She gave us 3 pretty daughters, the first was Scheherazade, (“Cher” for short,) the second was Mount Airy Cassandra and the third was named Mount Airy, Galadriel.
Galadriel died at only a couple of months old due to a blood draw (by a veterinarian) that did not go well. In those days, we used to need 4 cc.s of blood for the DNA testing on our cria. This was before the introduction of the paper DNA test, which only uses a couple of drops. It is almost impossible to get 4cc.s of blood from a cria in any spot other than the neck. Galadriel jumped hard during the blood draw from her neck, and seemed to have bled a lot inside.
The official cause of death was “shock.” Needless to say, I was one of those vehemently arguing in favor of the newer “3 drop” DNA test when the alpaca registry first proposed it. Since then, we have always avoided drawing from the neck whenever possible. In our movie, you will see Tom draw blood from the leg.
Please don’t ask the name of the veterinarian that we were using then! That isn’t the point of this story and it could have happened to anyone.
We later used the name Galadriel again for a different cria. I found it very difficult to move on from the loss of the first alpaca “Galadriel.” She was a beautiful, special girl and so pretty! For a few weeks after her death, I really thought that I wanted to quit the alpaca business. The grief and shock of her unexpected death took a long time to ease, but I realized within a few weeks that I did want to go on in my life as an alpaca farmer.
Although I will never forget my “first” Galadriel, I wanted to have another Galadriel to signify our decision to move forward in our lives as alpaca breeders. But I saved the cria fleece of the first Galadriel to spin up into yarn and that yarn will never be sold.
Latte was sold to our partners from the alpaca care DVD, Kate & Scott McKelvie and still resides there happily at their farm, Alpacas of Sunset Fields. Latte gave the McKelvie’s 2 beautiful females and one gorgeous male named, Rosado. One year, the other Kate even got Latte to nurse 2 crias at once; her own and an orphaned cria.
Latte’s daughters and granddaughters have continued to produce beautiful, mostly female cria. Many of these female alpacas even have the famous Latte topknot or what I call “the Don King hair.”
The other Kate documented this in an article that was published in Alpacas Magazine. (We usually call Kate McKelvie “Kate 2” and me “Kate 1.” Even some of our customers call us that.) Here are the two Kates together in the show ring. Kate 2 (McKelvie) is on the left and Kate 1 (Perez) on the right: