Baby alpaca survived against the odds, now needs surgery

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A special-needs alpaca is in desperate need of some help.

Cody is a suri alpaca who lives on an alpaca ranch in Castle Rock. She was 6.5 pounds when she was born, which is severely underweight for a newborn. Cody beat the odds to survive, but now has a new challenge to overcome: She is blind.

"I basically had no hope of her to survive. I just thought that was it,” owner Amber Isaac said.

Isaac was wrong. She moved the tiny newborn alpaca into her home and has cared for it as her own for the past 18 months. It is a miracle Cody is even alive.

"It’s like having a big dog, but she doesn’t bark and she doesn’t run around. But my house does have hay everywhere,” she said.

Isaac owns about 100 other alpaca that she cares for on her ranch. The others stay out in the barn and spend their day grazing the pasture. Isaac tried to get Cody to join the rest of the alpaca but discovered a major setback.

“As her energy got better, I started bringing her outside more and she started bumping into things,” she said.

Cody is going blind. The two have formed a special bond through the alpaca’s disability. They act more like mother and daughter than livestock and owner.

Cody and Isaac communicate using a special language of clicks and hums so Cody can navigate the ranch to the sound of Isaac’s voice.

For Cody to live a normal life though, she needs to have cataract surgery. It costs $3,500 and Isaac is desperate to get it done.

“At the point where you’ve been through so much with one little animal it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, a cat, a turtle, an alpaca,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of animal it is if you love it.”

While some might see Cody just as livestock for her wool and to breed, Isaac is sure Cody was meant for greater things.

“That is not her mission in life. She’s got a different purpose,” she said. “Helping kids to understand that being different is OK. Because Cody is different and that’s what makes her unique.”

Learn more about Cody on the website or donate for her surgery.