Sadly we decided to sell Boris yesterday. Happily, he went to an awesome home that already has an active “work program” for 10 other dromedaries. Check out this video of these gentle giants who will be living with Boris at his new home. Click the YouTube logo to watch it on YouTube, where you can view it in high quality. It’s much better viewing that way if you have a high speed Internet connection:
Christine will tell you that Boris was MY camel, not hers, even though she was the one who cared for him and worked with him. I was the one who wanted to buy him when we attended the exotic animal auction in Cookeville, TN. I thought it would be real cool to have a camel, and it was! Boris was a hit at the Rhea County Fair and the Dayton Christmas parade this past year. It was fun showing him and watching the reaction people had when seeing a camel for the first time. We even bought a tall trailer to transport him. We were determined we’d eventually be riding him and having him pull a wagon.
When we bought Boris we simply had no idea of the extent of commitment that would be required to raise a dromedary gentleman. Christine soon took over the day-to-day responsibility of caring for Boris along with her goats, mini donkeys, llama, etc, etc. Bless her heart, she’s such an awesome wife!
While we had a great time showing Boris off at community events and gaining local reputation as “the folks with the camel,” it soon become apparent that he was getting bigger and bolder. Boris would need consistent daily training if he was going to be safe to be around. Dromdaries are just too big to mess with if you don’t have them under full control. Grown camels are HUGE animals and they must be trained and respected.
Christine worked with Boris the best she could with the lack of reliable information on raising and training camels. It seemed as though the few self-proclaimed camel trainers you find online offer totally different opinions about camel behavior and training. I think Christine signed off her camel discussion board once and for all the other day by chastising many of the participants for acting like children in their attacks on other forum members who don’t agree with their techniques.
We needed camel training intervention, so we called a friendly camel man we had met at the auction when we purchased Boris. Scott Allen sat next to us at the auction and provided excellent bidding advice. We won the bidding for Boris at a price he assured us was a good deal. Scott told us that we’d be needing help with Boris and made sure we knew he could provide it when the time came. Well, the time had come and we gave Scott a call.
We arranged to bring Boris down for a 30 day boot camp at Scott’s farm in Cartersville, GA, Pettit Creek Farms, to work and train with his 10 other camels. Yesterday was the day and we headed south to Georgia with Boris in tow.
On our way down to deliver Boris for his month of training, we discussed whether or not we wanted to sell him to Scott. We’d already planted the seed with Scott about possibly buying him and he was definitely interested at the right price. Of course we knew we’d take a loss on Boris to make Scott an offer he couldn’t refuse, but we also knew that continuing to keep Boris would be expensive and time consuming. It would be sad to see him go, but we knew that it was probably going to be best for him to have a home at Pettit Creek than with us. We’d play it by ear and see if we wanted to invest further in Boris for our own use, or sell him at a loss to Scott.
When we arrived we unloaded Boris and Scott tied him inside a big stall. He told us that Boris needs to learn to be tied and be happy about it. We then went to the back of the property to retrieve 5 males, 2 of whom would be harnessed and pulling a wagon after lunch. They followed right along for a long walk from the back of the property to the front. Scott tied them to his camel hitchin’ post, where they’d stay until after lunch.
Until we visited Scott and his family at Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville, GA, I was skeptical that anyone in this country really knew how to train a camel to behave, let alone to work. Now I’ve met someone who truly does know how to do this and do it very well. Scott loves his 10 camels, but not in a mushy, gushy way. He doesn’t kiss them (as we did Boris) or dote over them. No, Scott’s their boss. As with everyone living at Pettit Creek – kids, grandkids, employees – the camels pull their weight. Scott’s “no pet” policy provides no room for slackers. Everyone has a job, including the dogs.
We then went to lunch at a memorable diner in Cartersville, where we ate at the former “colored” counter that seats 3 off the kitchen. We had a burger swimming in beans and cole slaw. Yummy, but definitely something you eat with a fork, not with your hands. This was a memorable lunch experience in a true hometown joint with history and tradition.
After spending time with Scott and meeting his family we knew that the best thing for Boris was to live at Pettit Creek. He’d be under the care of a family that knows and loves camels and is doing some very interesting work with them. He’d have lots of buddies and he’d never be bored. This is the kind of place I’d want any camel to be. I got an email from Scott this morning telling me he woke up at 2AM thinking about getting started with Boris today. He just loves working with camels and couldn’t sleep with a new student on board. Now that’s passion.
Boris will soon learn to use his strength and other camel skills to actually be productive, rather than standing around all day munching hay and tipping over water buckets. He’ll pull wagons and manure spreaders, he’ll even be saddled up and ridden caravan style with 5 other male dromedary workers. Scott’s son is now working on a harness for 6 camels to pull a hayride wagon and other farm implements.
Boris will never again be bored and we’re so thankful that we were able to know him for the 6 months or so that we owned him. I’m really looking forward to visiting Pettit Creek Farms this summer to witness his progress. I want to ride that wagon that Boris and 5 other dromedaries are dutifully pulling to the commands of the driver. That will be a wonderful day.
We’re both sad to see Boris go, but we now know that camels need a job to be happy and Boris just got hired by the best.