by Dot Cannon
For camels, trust is everything.
“You treat a camel like you treat a giant greyhound dog,” said Gil Riegler, owner of America’s first camel-milking farm, the Oasis Camel Dairy. “We get them to like to be with us. Then, when we ask them to do something they go, ‘oh, OK, I’m doing it.'”
That trust was evident, this afternoon at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa.
Gil had brought five of the twenty-two camels he and his wife Nancy own to the Fair, from their ranch in Ramona, California. During one of three camel milking presentations he would give this afternoon in the Livestock Area, Gil introduced his five camels. He gave the audience a little information about each animal’s background and personality, as he handled the camels with a lot of petting, gentleness,–and buckets of grain, as a treat.