Velvets story begins May 23rd when she had her first cria, now known as Velveteen. It was a very difficult birth of which Dave and I were her only help. As it would be, there was no medical personal available to help us with the birth so it was up to Dave and I to help bring her little one into this world. Without going into detail, with God's help Velvet delivered our last cria (baby) and our first girl of the season into this world.
All appeared to be going very well. The cria was nursing well and growing, Velvet took to motherhood with excellence and grace. She was a very attentive mom, always knowing where her little one was. Life was seemingly good here on the farm. We had 4 cria's that year, 3 boys and 1 little girl; Charlie, Jayce, Rusty and "the little girl" . I keep saying "the girl" because we kept trying several names and none seemed to fit- Black Velvet - Mocha - nothing was working.
Cria's develop a very strong bond. Charlie seemed to take an extra interest in his little half sister. We would often see them side by side. But even in the alpaca world, boys will be boys! Our three little guys loved to wrestle and play rough, while "the little girl" would just watch from her mothers side . But come evening "the little girl" could quickly get the boys attention and would start pronking around the fields with the three boys tailing after her. Pronking is a beautiful graceful gate they do when all of life is good! They hold their head up high and seemingly float across the fields.
As time went by about 3 weeks ago now I noticed Velvet seemed to be laying down a lot, but that was the only thing that was out of the norm. Her appetite was good, she was still standing for nursing, she would roam around with the herd, but she just seemed to need to lay more often. Dave and I would talk about what we observed trying to think of what could be causing this change. Internal? Injury? We just didn't know.
We know that in the alpaca world (as in many others I'm sure) we need to be aware of any changes in behavior because if they get sick they don't want you to know about it. Out in the wild a weak animal meant prey. By the time we notice something is different, they could be in serious condition. So we kept a daily watch on her but nothing else seemed to change. Until August 3rd. Velvet progressively got worse as the day grew on. That evening Dave and I caught her for further observation. A little side story here...as Dave came upon her from one side, I came around the other and was against the fencing - no big deal right - wrong! As Dave came left Velvet swung her head right and nailed me - BAMB! right in the eye! Yep, a black eye was in the works! She definitely gave me something to remember this day by! Anyway, back to Velvet, we could not see anything apparent.
The next morning was a very dark and sad day. It was apparent Velvet was slipping away. The vet was called but with their heavy work load she would not be able to come right away. So as the morning went by Velvet just laid with her head in my lap. Her body temperature was down so I covered her with a blanket and put a heater by her side, but she was getting more unresponsive by the minute. By noon that day the vet had come but there was nothing she could do. Velvet slipped away from us and into the place God has in heaven for all His heavenly creatures. This was our first adult loss in our 10 years of alpaca farming, it was very hard to endure.
So now we found ourselves with a 2 month old cria to take care of. We immediately got out our supplies and got some vitamin D milk and began the transition for "the little girl" to take nourishment now from a bottle. That evening the first feeding went pretty well considering this was a very foreign feeling in her mouth, eating about 5 oz. The next early morning feeding went a little better, this time she ate about 8 ounces. Our lives quickly became centered around our little one's feeding schedule, but it was good, we had something positive to focus on. So from here on out ever 3-4 hours we would feed our little one.
Now it was about time to settle on a name for this sweet little girl. So we asked for suggestions, but it needed her mom's name somehow within the name, right? Several people including our daughter came up with the name Velveteen. We loved it! So our little girl now had a permanent name - Velveteen.
Velveteen is now thriving. One evening about a week after Velvets passing we noticed something, it occurred to us we hadn't seen this in several weeks - she was running and playing again! How clear hindsight is! Our assessment was that besides wanting to stay by mom's side she probably had not been getting the full nourishment she needed for a few weeks, try as Velvet did. Now with a full belly at each feeding and getting the proper nourishment she needs she is feeling good again. She is back to pronking in front of the boys and once again having the fun a cria should enjoy.
Several of the other adults have taken to watching over Velveteen including Uncle Ranger. As of late I have observed her laying next to her Grandma Chloe. A heart warming sight.
As we have seen so many times here on the farm, the promise of the rainbow holds true. God promises to stay by our side, no matter what. Many dark days here on the farm have ended with the promise of the rainbow. Velveteen is doing just fine. We have been so blessed by the devoted and caring followers of The Rainbow. It truly warms our hearts! Thank you all!!