Grief, shared grief

Late last week, we had to say good-bye to our beloved Kahuna. No matter how hard we tried, how hard the vet tried, or how hard Ellsbury tried to help him, his injury was too severe for him to fight through it. Four rounds of “alpaca physical therapy” daily, meds to make him more comfortable, favorite foods, a warm barn, it just wasn’t enough to save him. When he stopped eating and drinking, we knew we had lost the battle to save him, which broke our hearts.

As the time came for him to transition to his next phase of existence, Ellsbury came and stood next to him, with us, as the vet did what needed to be done. He made the most beautiful soothing sounds, as if telling Kahuna it was okay to go.

After Kahuna passed, Ellsbury cried, actually cried. He made a keening sound over and over, and then sat with Kahuna’s body until we removed it. For the rest of the day, Ellsbury walked the fence line of the pen, calling out, as if begging his friend to come back. That night, he wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t go in the barn, just stood sadly by the fence.

He was grieving. He is grieving still. His buddy, his companion, his sparring partner is gone.

What it reminded me anew is that humans aren’t the only creatures that grieve. Ellsbury is grieving, we are grieving. And in that shared grief, we find comfort in being together.

For the last days, we have spent a lot of time with Ellsy, talking to him, keeping him company, bringing him treats. He’s eating again, sleeping in the barn, getting back to normal activities. Now that he has had time to grieve, we are looking for a companion or companions for him because he is a social animal, and needs friends.

Love it not just for humans, and I am so thankful that we get to see the amazing relationships of our creatures.

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