Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracy Munroe.
Tracy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A little over 20 years ago, I began my love affair with llamas. Being in the veterinary world at the time with a healthy interest in exotics, I was enamored by this regal animal that has so many talents. I began with two and a few goats on my small farm and acquired wonderful mentors to help me learn about llamas as they are very different in their husbandry and training needs than other farm species. Along with utilizing my mentor, I immediately joined a number of Camelid (name of species family that include both alpacas and llamas ) associations such as GLASO – Georgia Llama and Alpaca Social Organization and SSLA – Southern States Llama Association to help further my education and begin to network with some of the most influential pioneers in the llama industry.
Throughout my time with Camelids, I took classes in husbandry, various training methods by world renown trainers, species-specific veterinary and began with the Pack Llama Trial Association hiking and packing with my growing herd. As I grew, we also found Pet Partners, a volunteer animal therapy program and have registered several of our herd believing as they do that the human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial relationship that improves the physical, social and emotional parts of our lives.
I also became involved with another very special group, Southeast Llama Rescue and became an Adoption Coordinator and webmaster. I was able to utilize all the skills I had acquired within the rescue group. I continued to hone my skills, becoming a resource for behavior training for difficult cases, nursing animals back to health and handling husbandry issues and rescue situations. Being able to save lives of the animals, bring the joy of llamas and alpacas to new adopters and be able to offer mentorship continues to be an honor.
As my relationships with other Camelid lovers continued to evolve, I moved to Wyoming as a wilderness guide for a large llama ranch. What an experience! We cared for, bred, trained and raised well over 200 head of pack llamas with Highline Trail Llamas. I guided hikes from 2 days to 3 weeks all over the Wyoming Range and Wind River mountains.
Again, my knowledge base widened as I became involved with TLAER -Technical Large Emergency Rescue, befriending one of the founders, Rebecca Gimenez. I am now one of the Associate Instructors (as are the herd of llamas I take with me) teaching Firefighters, EMS, Animal Control and others regarding the technical aspects of working with camelids in a safe learning environment.
I also began a mobile herd health and shearing business which has me traveling all of the Southeast acting as a liaison between owners and Camelid vets which there are very few, This fills a huge void for the need of training owners in husbandry and health while providing additional services to help keep these animals with all their quirky needs healthy and happy.
Strictly through rescue efforts, I grew my herd of ten llamas. I began getting more and more involved in fundraising for the rescue and Camelid welfare, which has led to the very successful Atlanta Christmas and St. Patrick’s parades as well as the various Atlanta Llama Pub Crawls we throw. We also participate in The Great Llama Race in Knoxville, TN.
All of this culminated into such an interesting life! I have always trained for public relations and expounding on the many talents of these amazing creatures. Enter Wit’s End Llama Consortium! As the public’s desire increased for more llama in their lives, I made the decision to take all my experience and share my lovely animals. The entire herd is made up of rescue animals with interesting stories that have been trained to high PR levels or “bomb proof” as we like to call them.
Every event is different and so are the llamas. When hired, I look at who is the best fit for the task and rotate the llamas, so everyone has their time off. They help me educate, celebrate and entertain scores of people and can be hired for school events, birthdays, weddings, hiking experiences, photoshoots, festivals and more. It has been so thrilling to be able to offer the joy of llamas to Atlanta in an interactive atmosphere.
Has it been a smooth road?
With the nature of the business and the experience that I bring to the plate, much has been an organic evolvement. I am very lucky to have several fellow entrepreneurs at my side who mentor me from event and contractual aspects to marketing. I cannot stress enough the need to create a network, find your people who can support you and mentor you on your journey. This is always a work in progress, as is the business itself. The other is knowing one’s worth. Sometimes that is a tough one. I must look back and objectify the effort, planning, and expense that I put into this rewarding endeavor.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We bring highly trained llamas to your event at home or venue with a fully supervised and customized interactive program. We are motivated by connection, compassion, and a commitment to sharing a meaningful bond with everyone who can benefit from time spent with an animal. Wit’s End Llamas are hired for everything from weddings, photoshoots, hiking trips and birthday parties, various school education engagements, festivals, therapy activities, community, and corporate events as well as support other 501-3c’s fundraising activities. We are probably best known for the lively Atlanta Parade events and the several Atlanta Llama Pub Crawls we put on each year that has a growing public presence.
My pride are my llamas. Everything they are asked to do is based on agreement. That is our training basis. That they all come from rescue makes them even more valuable to me, for they have learned to trust and embrace what they do. I thoroughly enjoy the ability to teach the public about this regal and quirky animal while giving the gift of the presence of llamas. To watch them enjoy bonding with our clients and take them on a journey that they would never have experienced otherwise? Priceless. What sets us apart is not only how gentle and beautiful our llamas are but the level of safe interaction that we offer in an extensive list of locations and situations.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I have lived and visited so many different places over the years and I always return to beloved Atlanta. If I was able to, I would have the farm smack dab in the middle of the city. Atlanta is filled with such creative and passionate energy one can only find it motivating to embrace all the amazing opportunities to grow in both spirit and skill. So many pockets of artful collaborations can be found throughout the city as well as the many green spaces we fight to keep. I have made East Atlanta my darling and the llamas and I support a ton of their festivities.
What I like least? Frankly, the ever-growing traffic. Especially being a mobile business, I am constantly worried for the distracted driver that may cause an accident involving what I most value. My llamas.
- Website: www.witsendllamas.com
- Email: Tracy@witsendllamas.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/witsendllamas
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WitsEndLlamas/
Amy June Photography, Wes Carter, Glorious Moments Photography, Christine Shuffield Photography and Lori Burns of Get Carried Away Photography