Guinness scared the daylights out of me the other day.
It has been sooooooooo hot! I realize it’s July, and that we’d had a very long winter, but temps hovering around 100 are just a bit much!
We’ve been hosing down the alpacas every day in an effort to be sure they do not overheat. I’ve been refilling the water buckets several times a day. The alpacas like the cool water on a hot day, just like we humans do. We’ve kept the fans running at high speed 24/7 and an alpaca or two or three is usually cushed in front of at least one of the fans. Fortunately, even with this very humid heat spell, there has always been a decent breeze.
The boys generally like to run out in the mornings to graze. I’m thankful that there is always something for them to find to munch on. There are plenty of clumps of tall grasses here and there, as they just don’t eat everything. The pasture on the barn side is pretty well eaten down, but there are still plenty of choices on the other side, just no shade, and that’s where they usually are lately when they go out to graze.
I went out mid-morning to do my usual barn chores. I fluffed the hay and said good morning to my companions who were lounging about in the shade of the barn ~ Julio, Bo, Coty, and Arlo. I emptied and re-filled the water buckets. I absently looked out at the gang grazing out in the far pasture. I walked out behind the barn and looked around. That’s when I realized, I am only counting 10 alpacas. We have 11 boys here on our little farm.
My heart dropped. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I ran down the little hill out of the paddock and onto the alpacas’ dirt pile by the pasture fence line. ‘Hey boys!’ I called out loudly, waving my arms. 6 alpaca heads popped up from grazing ~ North, Earth, Henry, Peanut (aka Cowboy), Cavalier, and Eragon. But not Guinness.
I started waving my arms and frantically called out for Guinness. From my slightly higher vantage point, I had a good view of the entire pasture. The boys all watched me curiously, very intently; being on top of their dirt mound secured me as alpha. ‘C’mon guys, where’s Guinness?’ All my hollering, and I still could not see him. By now, North had come over to me and was eyeing me, talking to me in alpaca language. I asked him to show me where Guinness was. He started to walk down the little path they’d made in the tall grass over to the far pasture.
I followed North and kept frantically looking through the grass. North began grazing near the pasture fence line. The others watched me for a moment and resumed grazing. I walked across the pasture over to the far gate, and still, no sign of Guinness. All the gates were securely latched, but we don’t lock them. He was nowhere to be found. I got the chills. Could someone have come in and stolen my Guinness?
I started to head back towards the pasture fencing, not sure of what to do first. And then, to my horror, in the one clump of remaining tall grasses at the back end of the barn side pasture, in this awful heat, there was a dark brown lump.
‘GUINNESS!!!!!’ I kept screaming his name in a panic while I ran up to the pasture gate. Oh no, this really couldn’t be happening. As I ran through the pasture gate and back down the barn side pasture towards him, Guinness suddenly lifted up his head. Huge sigh of relief!!! I greeted him with a so very happy to see you neck scratch, restraining my urge to hug him, and he greeted me with his usual Guinness snort. Apparently I’d woken him up from a good nap.
I laughed and he jumped up. He was watching his herd mates. The 4 in the barn were now at the top of the hill by the paddock, watching, and the 6 from the other pasture had run over to the gate and were also watching. I walked with Guinness back towards the barn and then he ran towards his herd.
As we approached the hill, the other 10 all came running towards us. The herd pronked around us in a big circle. Guinness quickly joined them, and for a few blissful moments I just stood there smiling with happy tears, watching my happy alpaca herd pronking around me in a circle.
It’s very rare for a human to be given such a happy alpaca dance.