I have written about the constant and unwavering love of our animals many times. As you know, just about a year ago, our two lambs Lana and Hila came to live with us. After they lived in the house until they were big enough, and it was warm enough for them outside, they transitioned down to the alpaca barn, moving in with our elderly alpaca Ellsy (short for Ellsbury, honoring Jacoby Ellsbury who played for the Boston Red Sox).
Ellsy has always been a very smart alpaca. Very curious. Beautiful, gorgeous fiber. And scared of his own shadow. When we had other alpacas, we had to hand-feed him because he was so docile and submissive he would give up his grain to the other alpacas. When his last alpaca buddy passed away, the vets suggested giving him a couple of lambs to protect, feeling that at his age, any new alpaca would be so dominant over him, it would be a problem.
So we brought Lana and Hila home, and eventually, they moved in with Ellsy. And the most amazing relationship was born. Months later, they are such a close-knit family. They share their food, they play together, they are together day and night. Ellsy has gone from being an exceedingly shy alpaca to being very assertive when he feels someone or something might be a threat to his babies. The funniest part? He now plays like a sheep. He plays tag with them, running and jumping like they do, and it is so much fun to watch his joy and love.
Right now, Vermont is in the midst of a nasty storm. Sleet and freezing rain have fallen for the last 30 hours, and everything is coated in a thick layer of ice. Everything. And Ellsy…
Now, why is he covered in ice when he has a nice dry barn to keep him out of the elements? Because of true love. True icy love in this case. Lana and Hila like playing out in the sleet. When he was alone, or just with alpacas, Ellsy would stay inside for days instead of venturing out in unpleasant weather. But if he stays inside now, his girls will be unsupervised and away from him, and he can’t let that happen.
The sleet continues to fall, snow is coming later today, and Ellsy follows Lana and Hila faithfully, keeping an eye on their safety, playing when they want to play, and never going inside until they are ready for their nap. When they nap, they go into what was their lamb pen, and curl up, and Ellsy comes in, cushes (the way an alpaca lays down) by the opening to the pen, and sleeps a bit. Now, he’s completely warm himself, that thick layer of beautiful fiber ensures his comfort, but still.
This is the image of true love. Ellsy loves his lambs so much, he stays out in the weather, getting coated in a layer of ice himself, to be with Lana and Hila.
Everyone and every creature should be loved that much!