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Couple Bring Blind Baby Alpaca on 1,000 Mile Journey Home

Couple Bring Blind Baby Alpaca on 1,000 Mile Journey Home

The Great Animal Rescue Chase is proud to bring you the unique story of a New Zealand couple who refused to let a newborn alpaca be euthanized.  Though she was born premature and likely to suffer complications, they believed that she deserved a chance to live. They embarked on a 1,000 mile journey with their fragile outcast.  Today she can’t quite decide if she belongs to a species of dog or of human, but she knows that she is loved.  

By Yuri Wierda of New Zealand

Growlithe was born January 2009 in South Head near Helensville in New Zealand.  She was born very premature and blind. We were staying on holiday there and bottle fed her and milked her mum for the initial colostrum. It was unlikely that she would survive on the farm and was going to be euthanised. We pleaded to keep her and as a result she travelled with us 1600 km to the other side of New Zealand – Dunedin. Here we continued to bottle feed her and she started to thrive.

At three months of age, she got very sick and the vet recommended euthanising her. We told him she is a fighter and wanted to give her a chance.

Growlithe Loves the Dogs

A few weeks later, she got better again. When she was 5 months old, she had to stay for a month with friends for a while because my wife was hospitalized. While she was staying with our friends, Growlithe became friends with their dogs and followed them around everywhere – although she did get banned from the inside of their house after she ate their house plants and nibbled on their curtains and leather lounge suite!

Life in the Alpaca Garden

Growlithe is now 2 years old and living happily in her own purpose built paddock with 18 different plants that alpacas love to eat. It is on a bit of a slope so it is easy for her to know where in the paddock she is. She navigates by hearing and by smell. Most people are surprised that she is totally blind because she navigates so well around her paddock. She is very tame and will come running when called and will follow us without the need of a lead.

Want to See More Photos of Growlithe?

Visit our website to see more photos of the darling Growlithe and while you’re there, please consider sharing a story of an animal you have saved. 

The Great Animal Rescue Chase is a worldwide event, open to all, with a mission of empowering everyday animal lovers to save lives.  Tell us your story. You never know who you might inspire. And if you’ve got an itch to tackle some of the major crises facing animals all over the planet, have a look at our Harmony Fund.


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Photo credit: Yuri Wierda

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12:07AM PDT on May 27, 2013

Thank you!!!!!!

1:23PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Great story. Such stories renews my faith in human beings. Wish there were more people like you.

7:15AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Finally a story that makes me cry tears of joy!!

12:48PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

I loved this story and I am so pleased that the people saved her. I'm sure she will love them as much as they love her.

6:39PM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

What an unusual experience -- I don't believe I've ever heard of someone beig foster parents to an alpaca; What an fascinating story to experience one of these animals! And what a love she must be! Thanks for taking God's creature and providing a home for her! Too bad you couldn't find a "daddy" alpaca, and have some little growlithes. God speed.

10:53AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Persistence and love pays great benefits, Growlithe's survival and thriving is great proof.

8:39AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

we need people like this

7:24AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

This couple did exactly what our purpose on this planet act as good stewards of the world we ALL share!!
Wonderful story, thank you so much for sharing!

2:41AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Awe they're so adorable! I just feel the urge to squash them :) big squashy moment coming on!! Haha thanx for the story, it's awesome what so many people do without want of recognition, though it feel it is our duty to show gratitude and thank them in any way possible! So thank you to Growlithes mom and dad, you guys are stars!! Mwah

12:21PM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

So nice!

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