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.
Photo credit: Yuri Wierda