FREISEN, Germany (Reuters) - When Ronja Pohl first saw the disabled baby alpaca at a friend’s farm, her heart melted and she resolved to give the tiny orphan a home - and a special wheeled harness for walking with.
Named Marie, the animal’s two back legs were left severely damaged by a traumatic birth that killed her mother and her sister.
“She was hopping around as if she wanted to show everyone she has a strong character and wants to live even if two of her legs are injured,” 20-year-old Pohl told Reuters.
After bringing her new pet home to the farm near Frankfurt where she works, Pohl took Marie to a veterinarian, who amputated one back leg and put her in touch with a company that makes wheelchairs for animals.
Marie, strapped in to her bespoke wheeled frame and harness, now totters happily around Pohl’s barn, learning the ropes of social interaction with baby lamb Schlufine and greeting other animals en route.
“She solves a lot of problems herself. If she falls over, she will get up on her own - if she feels like it,” Pohl said.
“As soon as she is able to carry weight on her third leg, she will get an artificial limb and join my boyfriend’s alpaca herd to live a normal alpaca life.”
Reporting by Frank Simon; writing by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; editing by John Stonestreet