There he is. Mighty Impressive. Certainly the most beautiful male llama we've ever owned. He was large and in charge. For years he was simply unable to "put up" with any other males being in HIS paddock, HIS territory. He would fight -- literally to the death -- given the opportunity.
But he loved people. He was easily haltered and a dream on lead. He would strut around like a king -- which on our farm, he was.
"Who's THAT?" visitors to the farm would ask.
"That's Mighty Impressive," I'd reply. "I wonder who looked at a baby llama and said, 'Gosh, he's mighty impressive.'"
Well, someone did. And they were right.
Mighty Impressive was the Grand Champion of the Illinois State Fair in his class in the year 2000.
Two years ago he suffered with heat stress in the summer. It affected him permanently by "mellowing" his attitude. In fact, two months ago he decided he was finally ready to live in a herd situation. He went over a fence while the other boys were grazing in the front yard -- and he didn't try to fight! He was ready to be part of the herd.
I should have known that something was wrong. On Sunday he was kushed next to a big round bale and couldn't get up. Thanks to the kindness and muscle of Steve and Ben, we were able to roll him into a sling and move him inside to a small pen. He was still eating vigorously and drank well, too. But he couldn't or wouldn't get up.
On Monday morning when I went to the barn, he had passed during the night. In a world with thousands of llamas, he was one of a kind. He was a treasure and we loved owning him. And I think he loved us in return.
Photos: Ben and Mighty; Mighty being Mighty; Mighty in the snow; Jack and I with Mighty for our 2006 Christmas card.