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Bert the Camel

By Audrey Pavia, Urban Farm Contributer

Monday, May 23, 2011


On my trip to the feed store, I was awestruck by Bert, the deputy sheriff camel.

I’ve been obsessed with animals since I was a little kid and have spent more time at zoos and farms than I have in playgrounds and parks. So it’s not often that I see an animal that really takes my breath away. But it happened this past weekend, right here in the town where I live.

I went to one of the feed stores in downtown Norco, Calif., to take part in their customer appreciation day. Free food and a free raffle — it was certainly worth the 2-mile drive from my house on a Saturday morning.

As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I saw him: a big, glorious, one-humped camel. He was standing in the parking lot wearing a halter and lead rope, held by a woman I would later find out was named Nancy.

I don’t even remember parking my car. I couldn’t take my eyes off the camel. I’d seen this guy walking down the trail a few times, led by Nancy on her horse. Of course, I was either on horseback or leading my horse at the time, and all I could think to do was get the heck out of there, fast, before my horse killed me. One of the most terrifying things to an uneducated horse is a camel, it seems.

But this time, I was unencumbered by any equine cowards, and could walk right up to this camel and touch him. 

The camel was amazing. Standing almost 7 feet tall, he didn’t look real. He seemed like some wacky animated character you’d see in a Pixar film. His lips jutted out, his neck was long and S-shaped. And his feet! He had two toes on each foot, which were massive and flat as pancakes.

I found out the camel’s name is Bert, and he is a deputy sheriff. Apparently, he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the highest-ranking law enforcement camel in the world. Nancy is a Sheriff’s Posse Reserve Deputy. She and Bert attend parades and other events to reinforce safety and anti-drug messages to kids.

Whatever. All I know is that I couldn’t keep my hands off him. His skin was rough and his hair bristly. His muzzle was soft, and his eyes were huge. He was clearly the most bizarre-looking creature I’d ever seen. Or maybe I’m just too used to looking at horses. Either way, he was spectacular. Meeting him made my weekend.


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Audrey, Camels are indeed an interesting animal. I chuckled about Bert being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the highest ranking law-enforcement camel. Bert would definitely get kids attention at parades. I'm wondering what exactly would camels eat at the feed store. Do they have Purina Camel chow? :0) He does look like a fine specimen of Camel. I don't think I've ever been up close and personal to a camel. I've certainly never touched one. I sounds like it was the highlight of your day. I hope you have many more encounters with Bert.

Have a great animal encounter day.
David, Omaha, NE
Posted: 5/24/2011 5:23:57 AM

About the Blogger

Audrey Pavia

Audrey Pavia
Keeping farm animals in the city can be a real hoot. Follow freelance writer Audrey Pavia's adventures in Southern California with a yard full of urban livestock, including horses, chickens, a Corgi and an urban barn cat. She somehow manages all these silly critters while working full-time, with no one to help her but her husband, Randy, a born-and-raised New Yorker. And you thought "The Simple Life" was out there?

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