I’m not going to mince words or pretend this has a happy ending.
Stormie, one of our original herd members, has passed away at the tender age of 8 years old.
Stormie had always been the runt of the pack- he was always small, prone to thin & broken nails, and had a slightly hunched back since before we adopted him at 3 1/2.
He’d been underweight for a while, despite my best efforts to fatten him up and I (in hindsight) didn’t worm the herd well enough the winter of 2020-21.
The worms took over and he lost weight so fast that it deteriorated his muscles, including his heart, which the vet believes was already compromised. Even with the vet and I trying several different avenues of medical treatment, he just never gained back any of his weight this last summer. The vet believes that Stormie may have had something that the alpaca community calls “failure to thrive”.
He never lost his spunk- and I was able to give him a good summer full of green grass and lots of sun. This last summer he even rallied a bit and was able to get up on his own for a few months- which at the time was more then I had ever expected for him considering he had barely survived the winter.
But as the weather turned colder, I could tell he was starting to have trouble again already.
After Thanksgiving, the kind Dr Colville and I had a meeting and he told me that Stormie was most likely too frail to make it thru the winter. That any decision I made after almost a year of caring for him in this state was understandable. So, with his blessing, I decided to carry thru with caring for him until he passed naturally.
Over the course of these last few months, he lost the ability to get himself up again. And over the last couple days, I was having to help him to even stay steady and upright to eat and drink. Once he’d get his legs under him he’d be ok for a while, but he was always so exhausted looking. Even with his coat and his overgrown fiber, the cold was clearly effecting him. So I started closing the barn up on nights below 25 degrees this last two weeks.
Then, this last Sunday, when I went out to do chores, I found him dead. The cold weather and his thin condition had finally caught up to him and he just couldn’t keep fighting anymore. He passed sometime the night before.
We’ve said our goodbyes to him- and we’ve taken care of the physical part of it. It’s going to be really weird to go out to the barn and not see his fluffy white snout sniffing the air and expressive brown eyes seeking me out. He’s taught me so much. I am thankful we had him for as long as we did. I am sure he’s in green pastures, pain free and able to roll in the dirt and chase chickens again. I miss him so much more then I ever knew I would.
Until next time, thanks for reading about Stormie.