The Gentle Spirit Newsletter

By Cathy Spalding

September 8, 2010

New! Online Workshops!

Webinars with Cathy

Alpaca Talk

Alpaca Talk

Gentle Adjustable Halter
For Llamas and Alpacas

Llama Talk

Llama Talk


Camelid Behavior As An Indicator In Handling, Training and Illness



September 21st at 6:30

Pacific Daylight Time

  More Information and Registration

I am not a technology guru and have found the process of transferring my in-the-field-knowledge to cyberspace a bit challenging. There is space now available for this first interactive, online workshop to be held Sept. 21 st beginning at 6:30, Pacific Time. The initial "Learning Curve Tuition" is very low at only $10.00 per participant. The low registration fee does not reflect less content but rather an acknowledgement that there could initially be glitches in my own technological learning curve. I cannot guarantee no "goof-ups" but I can definitely guarantee that I will present the complete workshop.

More Information and Registration

CONSULTATIONS  By Email and Phone

Offering Solutions To Your Alpaca and Llama Behavior, Training and Herd Management Problems

I receive numerous questions by phone and email each week. Many consultation requests require a good bit of initial time to mutually identify and review behaviors, background and put together a "lesson plan." While I am most happy to do this, it has become necessary for me to ask for donations for email and telephone consultations. Upon satisfactory completion of the consultation please consider sending a donation that is fair for all concerned.

Here's the details about my consultations




If you are considering hosting a clinic, please contact me. All the details for hosting or attending a clinic or presentation are found here on my website. 



 Subscribe to The Gentle Spirit Newsletter here

Mulligan StewWelcome back to my Gentle Spirit Behavior and Training newsletter. Life has kept me very busy. There have been many highlights as well as a few downers. So it goes with life!

I would like to specifically share my invitation as the only non-veterinarian speaker at the U.C. Davis Camelid Symposium held earlier this year. The speakers were Dr. David Anderson, Dr. Mark Anderson, Dr. Beate Crossley, Dr. Dominic Dawson, Dr. Julie Dechant, Dr. Murray Fowler, Dr. Michelle Ing, Dr. Birgit Puschner, Dr. Jane Vaughn from Australia, Dr. Pamela Walker. and Cathy Spalding.

I spoke in all three tracks - beginner, advanced and veterinarians, only. My specific contribution was alpaca and llama behavior as it specifically relates to handling, care and illness. I was especially honored at the closing of the Symposium with the invitation to participate on the vet panel to answer any questions on behavior.

While there are so very many people involved in putting together an event such as this, my personal contacts were Dr. Bonnie Potter of Fairwinds Alpacas and Joan Clappier of Opus Two Alpacas. This event is one of the best educational experiences offered each year for camelid enthusiasts and veterinarians, alike. The food was plentiful and far above the average, everything moved precisely on time and the personal attention I was offered as a speaker was most gracious. I want to again sincerely thank Bonnie, Joan and everyone involved for a truly wonderful and educational experience.

Other true highlights are my invitations to work with youth and act as judge for their shows at the county fairs. I did just that at the Chehalis Spring Fair with combined classes of llamas and alpacas. I have to say, these kids are good! So much so, in fact, that I asked one participant to perform her Handler's Class with her eyes closed. She was surprised and definitely unsure but.. I smile to say. she is so skilled that she completed the class with a near perfect score - all with her eye's closed!


The economy has hit many and airline travel has become increasingly difficult. Now that they are charging up to $40 per bag each way, it has become even more expensive. I am constantly receiving emails and phone calls from people hoping to learn more and further understand the behavior of their alpacas and llamas. It is difficult for some to attend a clinic - a number of contacts are from Europe - and need help in solving a behavioral issue. As a result, I am conducting a series of online workshops -- webinars.

The first webinar will be Camelid Behavior As An Indicator In Handling, Training and Illness as recently presented at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Camelid Symposium.

This webinar will be held on September 21, 23 and 28.

The September 21 st webinar features the "Learning Curve Tuition" of $10. September 23 and 28 are at the Introductory Tuition of $15. The webinar will run approximately one hour though it is possible to go longer depending on discussion.

More Information and Registration

Ongoing webinars will include interpreting alpaca and llama behavioral cues as well as problem solving behavioral issues brought to the workshop by participants. Future workshops will also include guest presenters on a wide range of topics.

Everyone will be able to participate in the webinar using their own computer screen for the visuals, a conference call feature for simultaneous discussion and chat.

  More Information and Registration


I am continually amazed with the depths of intelligence, care, recognition and understanding of alpacas and llamas. Your questions as well as my personal experiences have brought some particularly interesting situations. I will be sharing these with you in this newsletter as well as future ones.

It came to my attention recently that a female llama born here on our farm 14 years ago and sold as a yearling, had fallen into hard times. The story was that her 2 nd owner had committed suicide a year or more ago. The llamas simply remained on the property. The property was subsequently rented to folks who had "no clue" about llamas. As such, they received no specific care and were fed bales of straw. In time, the area Humane Society was contacted, intervened and moved the llamas to their holding facility.

I became aware of the situation and as the original breeder, I felt strongly that I had a responsibility to step up and bring Meza, the female, back home. However, I did have concerns. We have not bred any of our girls in nearly a decade. My focus is on education and my clinics and presentations take a great deal of time. As a result, the girls have "closed" their herd. There are no llamas coming and going for breeding. No babies have been born, no one has been sold and no new animals have been purchased. The girls are older now and have a very set routine. They have long established specific stations and have not been very accepting of any visiting llamas placed in their domain. This was a cause for concern. It is not unusual these days for a single llama placed in a "closed" herd to suffer. They are shooed away, kept from feed bins, isolated. they are treated as a total outsider who simply does not belong to that specific group.

In this instance, however, there was a twist in the story. Meza had been born here.

Continued on the web site. Click here.


My website now offers direct links to a number of great books. The listings are divided into appropriate categories. I've included four of my favorites below.

Please browse selections in The Gentle Spirit Store :

Polar Dream by Helen Thayer - Helen is the first woman to solo journey to the North Pole with her dog, Charlie. It is an amazing journey. Helen also owns alpacas and I was honored to have her attend one of my clinics.

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer -- This is a terrific true account of the life of an extraordinary elephant. You will never again look at elephants in the same way.

Caring for Llamas and Alpacas: A Health & Management Guide by Claire Hoffman and Ingrid Asmus -- This spiral bound book is an excellent reference for every owner. Text with illustrations covers a myriad of topics from knots to injections to eye injuries to reproduction to trouble shooting... and more.

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton -- A very well documented and interesting look behind the scenes from the early days of courtship, enduring the white house years to her self-imposed exile in Europe.

Go to The Gentle Spirit Store  

Please feel free to forward my newsletter to others who may be interested.

Thank you and I wish you all the very best,



This message was sent from: Cathy Spalding, 5725 - 78th Ave. NE, Olympia, WA 98516. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

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