It is with deep sadness and a very heavy heart that I tell this story.
On Sunday morning, we lost our dear friend, our alpha, Julio.
It wasn’t a complete surprise. Julio has not felt well for a very long time. But he was a strong boy, always feisty, spunky, bossy, and definitely had the most personality of any of the alpacas on our farm. After shearing the weather turned insanely cold, rainy, and windy. Our poor Julio came down with pneumonia. He appeared to be responding to the antibiotics.
But on Sunday morning when we went to the barn, he was clearly in distress. Coty and Desi ran over to us, gave Julio a quick sniff, and ran off to join the others in the pasture. I love my animals. I don’t want to let them go. But Julio was obviously telling me it was time. Our wonderful and kind vet, Amy, came right over. I softly rubbed his ears and reminded him how much we love him. Julio quietly and gently left us, crossing over the Rainbow Bridge.
Dan dug a hole in the pasture and we placed him in, with lots of straw and a few sticks. Julio liked to chew on sticks. While I said a prayer, I saw Earth and Coty watching. They’d all been respectfully staying their distance this whole time. I nodded to Earth and he came running, then Coty, and all the others. The herd cautiously walked around the hole, sniffing into it, and each of them dropped down to roll. It was as if they were all saying one last goodbye. They each had a few bites of grass and then ran back to the other pasture.
All except his lifetime buddy, Guinness. Guinness stayed cushed after he rolled a few times, watching us, not wanting to leave his buddy. Animals create bonds with one another. And animals mourn; yes, they really do.
RIP, my friend.