Kissing A Camel

My Take Tuesday: Kissing a Camel

During the month of November, a few years back, I had the opportunity to travel to Williams, AZ. 

Nestled amongst the Ponderosa pines and Douglas-firs of Arizona’s Kaibab National Forest, Williams is a magical place this time of year. The Christmas season is already in full swing there. All of the restaurants along the historic Route 66, are decorated and lit up with colorful Christmas lights. The scenery is breathtaking, and the atmosphere is most jovial.  

Just 8 miles east of Williams you will find the Grand Canyon Deer Farm. Originally established in 1969, this exceptional educational treasure – owned and operated by Randy and Pat George since March 1987 – offers a terrific interactive animal experience for adults and children alike. Initially opened as a Deer Farm the business has expanded over the years and has now became a fully-fledged Petting Zoo with over 100 animals including Bison, Camels, Goats, Llamas, Elk, Porcupines, Fallow Deer, Mule Deer, Reindeer, Coatimundis, Miniature Donkeys, A Zonkey, Pot Bellied Pigs and Wallabies. 

While there, I performed two artificial insemination procedures on their female resident reindeer. We were also generously treated by Pat to a VIP experience with the animals. As a veterinarian, it will come as no surprise that I love animals. Spending time looking at different animals and watching their behavior is my favorite thing to do. The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is a unique experience, as it allows you to pet and feed myriads of these animals. My children especially enjoyed the up-close interaction with the animals. 

“Hey dad, I just kissed a camel!” Those were the first words I heard from my young daughter’s mouth as she came running up to me. The excitement in her voice made me pay attention. “You what? A camel?” I asked. “Yes dad,” she responded, “You need to do it. Come here.”  

The procedure is simple. Place a carrot in your mouth. Stand near the perimeter of the pen. Lean in gently. The camel will reach out and gentle take the carrot from your mouth. In the process, the camel’s lips will definitely touch yours! As camels do not have upper incisors, there is no danger of getting injured during this activity. 

This is a place everyone should have on their bucket list. When visiting the Grand Canyon or even Las Vegas, making the trip to Williams to visit the Grand Canyon Deer Farm is definitely worth it! 

And that is my take!

N. Isaac Bott, DVM

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