YOU may not think there are many similarities between being a carer and running the UK’s largest alpaca farm. Well, think again.

Dominic Lane started his career as a carer in Australia, packed it in to become an alpaca farmer, and now he has come full circle and landed in Abingdon.

His journey took him around the world, in money and out of money, and taught him some valuable lessons.

The 47-year-old, whose partner Roxane Schatara works at the same Oxfordshire care company as him, said: “There are absolutely cross-overs.

“Looking after animals, like looking after people, is a great responsibility: you get all different types of alpacas, and there are always illnesses you are looking out for.”

Mr Lane was born in Wales to parents who lived in Sussex and emigrated to Sydney, Australia, when he was nine.

After school he started training to be a nurse, following in his mother’s footsteps, then everything changed.

Mr Lane’s grandmother passed away, leaving him a “considerable” amount of money “to be invested”. With it, his family decided to invest very heavily in the alpaca industry.

He said: “It was a difficult decision to suddenly switch careers, but having grown up in Rhodesia, it was my dream to live and work in the country.”

The family bought 10 female alpacas at a cost of 10,000 Australian dollars each and after a few years, Mr Lane moved the farm to Tasmania and grew his stock up to 150. He also became a judge for the Australian Alpaca Association, touring the world to judge competitions.

It was in this capacity that he travelled to the Royal Bath Show, where he met the owner of the UK’s largest alpaca farm in Whitchurch, near Goring.

She invited him to manage her herd, so he took the opportunity and managed the farm while simultaneously managing his business back home.

After two years he flew his own herd from Tasmania to the UK and set up Anzac Alpacas in a farm just outside Buckingham .

But after spending more than half his life farming alpacas, he was forced by personal circumstances to sell off his 100 remaining animals.

He spent several months trying to work out what he would do next, he said, “Then I thought, what I used to love doing was caring for people.”

He applied for jobs with various care companies in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and eventually chose Mary Knowles Home Care.

That was just over two years ago, and he is now the company’s care coordinator, managing its team of home carers.

But with many friends still in the alpaca game who he visits regularly, he keeps his eye in.

“I can’t see myself going back anytime soon, but maybe one day I will get a small herd again.”