Photography by Danny Fulgencio
Sam White purchased his llamas from a high school senior who was selling them to pay for college.

Cookie and Mama Coco are former 4H show llamas that White acquired as a natural way of mowing. He bought a piece of land near the University of North Texas at Dallas as an investment about a year and a half ago. First, he bought sheep to clear the land.

“I started with five, and now I have nine,” he says. “There’s one ram.”

White is a real-estate investor who also owns a landscaping company. His interest in livestock as a land-clearing tool took him down a rabbit hole, where he landed on llamas.

Llamas have entered pop culture over the past few years because of their role in the video game Fortnite. In the real world, llamas are domesticated animals related to camels and hailing from the Andes of South America.

When it’s hot, they’re active in the mornings and evenings. Otherwise, “They’re like, ‘Where are we chillin’?’” White says.

Like other camelids, camels and alpacas, llamas “kush.” That is, lie with their legs underneath them.

“They can enter a meditative state and stay chillin’ for12 hours,” he says. Also like camels, it’s not easy to convince a llama to do something she doesn’t want to do. But they’re curious and intuitive animals, White says. “They have a certain emotional intelligence,” White says. “They can pick up on people’s energy right away.”

Sam White with his wife, Catherine, and their baby, Calvin. Their llamas are professional landscapers.

Neighbors can get a glimpse of White’s sheep and llamas when he occasionally keeps them at a short-term rental house he owns near Tyler Station. He also keeps free-range chickens there.

The llamas are employees of Honey Bee Property and LeeRoy’s Lambscaping, but they’re also just pets.

Between buying the animals, paying for organic feed to supplement their diets and acquiring a former sheriff ’s horse trailer on Craigslist to haul them around, a riding lawnmower would probably be cheaper, White says.