Saturday, January 15, 2011

The death of a camel

Rajah died this week at Heifer Ranch in central Arkansas.
Shalom, old camel.
(Photo from Dave Lowe's album. ;-) Dave is the one on the left.)
Some of us ranch hands used to call this camel Gillette Foamy.

Male Dromedaries have a soft palate which they inflate to produce a pink sack.
This doula, as it is called in Arabic, hangs out of the side of their mouth -- some say -- to attract females during the mating season.

Well, Rajah was making the blub-blub-blub sound with his slobbering doula in every season.

It was always a race to see if I could drive the Livestock pickup truck to his feed box on the fence and dump the feed before he raced over and spewed his foam on my hat. Feh!
(Photo by Rena Olsen)
Then one day in the late 1990s someone, a certain G.J., had the bad idea to pasture a donkey with Raja and Gobi (the female camel).
I came to the paddock and discovered this just ten minutes before I needed to catch the donkey (put on a halter and lead rope) and bring her to my workcamper group for a "cut and carry" forage project.
I had no choice but to enter the big pasture and grab the donkey.

Oh no! For a few terrifying minutes that huge anti-social camel was grunting fearful noises while he danced a circle around me bobbing his head up and down!
I released the donkey and backed off, feigning courage to my opponent.
That gate seemed so far away.
Maybe that is why mine is the only minority opinion in the 41 (!) comments that Dave received on his Facebook announcement of Rajah's death. Everyone else says they will miss that camel.
Well, in death may Rajah rest in peace. He certainly never rested much in life.
P.S. I worked full-time at Heifer Ranch from 1996 to 2002. I lived there in community and worked and learned as a volunteer. You can too!
The Ranch is a learning center of Heifer International, an organization that gives livestock and training to folks in need around the globe.

This post is for Camera-Critters Sunday meme.


Birdman said...

Gillette Foamy! hahahaha Hilarious! Peace!

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

How sad....

He was beautiful!!!

American Coots

eileeninmd said...

Sorry, Gillette has passed on. Whoa, that really looks foamy.

Snap said...

He was quite the guy, wasn't he?!!! Happy Critter Day!

Gary said...

Great photos and an informative post. Gary & Boom of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Cozyflier said...

Nice tribute to a good looking animal. Nice photos.

EG Wow said...

Ah! What an experience you had with that dromedary! Still, it's sad to hear that he has passed on.

Yaelian said...

How sad,may he R.I.P. Very interesting post,Dina.

Sally in WA said...

Its sad that he passed away. But he left you with a funny story to share about his life.

gigihawaii said...

This post made me chuckle. I wrote a post about THE WEEPING CAMEL a year or so ago. True documentary and I managed to photograph a few graphic scenes:


Reader Wil said...

He must have been a character and a not very friendly one.

Jidhu Jose said...

super shots

Andy said...

That camel looks like he could sure give big wet kisses. In Ontario, Canada the farmers have donkeys in the field with their cattle. They protect the herd from wolfs and coyotes.

Shelley Munro said...

He sounds like a character despite his grumpiness. I like camels - luckily I haven't come across a cantankerous one yet. :)

Kay L. Davies said...

Dina, it is very difficult to know what to say here. Am I sorry the camel died? It seems he led a reasonably long life, although I don't know what that is for a camel, but it also seems he wasn't particularly lovable.
Poor old thing.
Very interesting post.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

VP said...

I'm sorry for the poor Rajah, but I definitely do not like camels (or dromedaries)...
Speaking of heifers, did they got the perfect red one at last?

Dina said...

Shalom friends and thanks for all your very different comments.

Gigihawaii, I just watched the video you linked to, "The Story of the Weeping Camel."
It is a wonderful look at Mongolian pastoral life and a very moving story of the mother camel and her newborn baby.
The nine segments are also on YouTube.
Thanks for that!

ρομπερτ said...

What a story.

Never seen a Camel up close so far. Must indeed be a huge animal. Please have a good Sunday.

daily athens

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I can see why you were indifferent to the camel's death. Very interesting post. I've never had to face off a camel.

gigihawaii said...

Dina, glad you liked the video!

Kay said...

This is such a worthwhile organization, Dina. I'm glad you enjoyed working there except when you were avoiding foaming camels. That sure is gross looking. Sorry...

Cloudia said...

You are quite a cowgirl!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



RNSANE said...

He certainly was a slobbery guy, foaming at the bit but, other than that, I'm sure he was a very likeable fellow. I'm sure he will be missed.

susieofarabia said...

How cool that you worked on a ranch and got to care for those animals. I'm sorry to read about Rajah's passing though. Sounds like he was quite a character.

jeannette said...

Have to say, the name for this camel was very appropriate!:) I admire your honesty about this camel, Dina!!