It’s been a long month since Julio left us. Thank you all for your compassion and kind words. Dan and I and the alpacas have all been getting into the new routine, the new normal.
The alpacas have been very quiet. They’re certainly not loud animals but they have seemed strangely quiet around me. I’ve watched them to see who the new alpha will be. Sometimes at night, for the first several days, we would hear fighting out in the pasture as the herd goes about the task to re-organize itself. With very little fanfare, I’d say it’s Cavalier, who we call Bear, who is the new leader. He’s the strong, silent type, with a very watchful eye. Guinness of course will help out. Nobody ever bothers Cavalier nor Guinness.
I’ve also been quiet. I quietly go through the daily routines in the barn, scooping poo, re-filling water buckets, fluffing and putting out fresh hay, and opening or closing the big barn door and windows depending on the weather. The alpacas all quietly mill around me as I work. Slowly I’m getting back to my usual chit-chat with them.
A few days after Julio’s passing, I was doing a headcount. I counted and counted, walked around to the back of the barn a few times to double and triple check, re-counted in the barn, and kept coming up with 11 alpacas. I was almost in a panic when I realized ...... when I remembered why there wasn’t 12. I collapsed onto the hay bale feeder in tears. A few paca noses sniffed at my head and face; I wish I knew who it was.
The alpacas mourned too. I’d often find Guinness cushed in the straw, exactly where his buddy had been cushed. He’s always let me scratch and hug him and seems to enjoy it more now. I can generally scratch and hug any of my alpacas, yes some more than others, but lately all of them are letting me scratch them without a fuss. There’s solace in that. They would hang out quietly around the barn and paddock and wouldn’t go near the other pasture for at least a week. All except Guinness. He’d come over to the spot where the dirt is still fresh and cush for a while near his friend.
My garden is close by to the fence line where Julio rests. As I’ve been planting and watering seedlings the alpacas have slowly come back to that pasture to see what I’m doing and to keep me company while I work. The other morning several of them were already grazing nearby. As I approached the garden, Coty and Henry came right up to the fence and greeted me with upright ears. Slowly the others did too. Good morning boys! After sniffing me, Guinness walked over to the dirt patch and cushed, and rolled. Coty saw him and joined him, then Henry. The three of them banged into each other and kept rolling. Then the others all pig-piled and joined in, cushing and rolling and bumping into each other. Bo ran over from the barn to cush and roll too. The alpacas all seemed to be having so much fun. Huge clouds of dust emerged. After a few minutes they all jumped up, shook off the dust, and ran off to find some nice grass to eat. All except Guinness. He stayed cushed for awhile, near his friend.