|Lonnie, as I will remember him.|
Lonnie joined our established alpaca herd in 2000 from the Pacific Northwest. We had planned to continue breeding animals, but Lonnie came to us in a time in which we had decided to shift and focus more on our family and taking great care of our family and of the animals we had, and spending less time, worry and stress over breeding them. We paid to have Lonnie transported in comfort from the West Coast in an air conditioned alpaca transport vehicle with an expert transporter, and he arrived here having shared space with some of the most famous and valuable alpacas of the time. He was a young animal and was somewhat docile and shy at that time.
Most of our animals are dark colors and so it was especially interesting for us to add a dark eyed all white huacaya alpaca. Lonnie continued to be shy and was a favorite of our son Daniel.
|Somehow, Lonnie managed to get a bucket around his neck !|
If one of the alpacas from our herd was a comedian, then I think Lonnie would be that one. Somehow, he managed one summer to unhook a bucket and get it stuck around his neck ! Fortunately, alpacas are much thinner than their fiber would seem to indicate, and so the bucket handle lifted off Lonnie's head fairly easily.
Once we knew what a wonderful gentle alpaca Lonnie was, we had planned to breed him at least once. However, the original seller had altered the paperwork from male to non-breeder without telling us, and therefore this was not a possibility. I had even considered breeding him for a pet quality companion, but sadly, we never did that either.
When our son Daniel died at 12 1/2, we became even more serious about taking good care of the animals he'd loved so much. We spent much more time with the alpacas, and with Lonnie in particular.
Lonnie was 16 this year. Although many books on alpacas consider a full life expectancy to be 15, Lonnie actually has herdmates who are 21 and 19. If they are cared for carefully, then the possibility exists for some individuals to make it to an advanced age indeed and to live a comfortable life while doing so. We had hoped the same for Lonnie.
This week, after a short gastrointestinal illness and consultations with vets and more interventions than I think I should have made, Lonnie passed. I had checked him at 3 am, and made sure he was comfortable, and at five when I checked again, he had recently passed.
|Lonnie, in the last twelve hours of his life.|
It is never easy to lose a friend of 16 years who meant so much to his herd and to our family as well. Thank you Lonnie for coming to our farm and being our friend. We will take care of your remaining family as best we can. We'll see you again.