Our oldest alpaca, Ellsbury (fondly called Ellsy — black fiber), has always been a little bit on the timid side. No, really, he is terrified of just about anything. A squirrel? Scary! The wind? Terrifying!

Now, as timid as Ellsy is, he also has always been our most curious alpaca. When Paul is building something, Ellsy will follow along the fence, watching every moment of his progress. When we work in the gardens, he watches, and of course, makes his happy sound if he thinks yummy treats are headed his way.

Yesterday, however, Ellsy showed a completely new side of himself, and even today, he was clearly still pretty proud. This gorgeous, huge red fox killed one of our hens yesterday (a nasty possibility when you have free-range hens) right near the alpaca pen. We happened to see the fox carrying her head (yuck!) across the lawn, and shouted to him to get him to leave. Then we quickly went outside to deal with the remains, and the fox was back to get the rest of his dinner — Paul chased him away again, but in his fear, the fox ran into the alpaca pasture, then getting stopped by the fence, ran along the inside of the fence into the alpaca pen.

Then the most amazing thing happened — instead of Ellsy (and Kahuna) running away from the large fox, Ellsy ran toward him, making aggressive sounds, and got him pinned against the back fence. Then Ellsy was almost rearing fully up, trying to come down on the fox with his front feet. Wow! When the fox turned and ran away, Ellsy chased him as far as he could. Kahuna followed along, supporting Ellsy, but also letting him take the lead.

The drama over, we were cheering and clapping for Ellsy. We went and got them a really nice treat for his bravery — and for the rest of the day, Ellsy acted like a very proud puff-ball — head up, ears fully up, looking like a champion.

Even today, Ellsy seemed pretty proud of himself. As we started to work in the garden, Paul said, “Yes, Ellsy, we are still really proud of you,” and Ellsy made a happy hum, then laid down in the sun for a well-deserved nap.

Way to go, Ellsy!

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