This afternoon, I knelt down in the llama shelter and sheared our llama Tere. He lay still and quiet. I felt a little strange, as though I should not be shearing him, and wrestled with this thought for a few minutes. The fiber felt warm in my hands. Perhaps I should leave his fiber with him. I thought how odd it was that he lay so still. Usually he protests during shearing, not wanting his legs and neck touched. Today, I stroked his neck with no fight from him. Two of our sheep stood over me, curious, and watching. They seemed puzzled by his silence and disturbed by his fiber filling the bucket beside me. Alaska, our other llama stayed back at a distance, unsure of the sound of my clippers.
Yesterday evening at chore time, Tere followed close behind me as I carried hay to the feeders in the barn yard. He seemed a little frisky, bouncing a bit around the sheep and enjoying the cool air. He settled in the run-in with his own pile of hay to eat. I always feed him separately from Alaska as she often pushes him away from the hay, getting her fill first. As I left the barn, I looked back over my shoulder, and we looked at one another for a moment before I headed back to the house.
Today, Tere lay silent in the llama shelter where he usually slept at night. Sometime between 5pm and 7am, Tere had died. He had left no indication of what caused his death. The hay around him remained undisturbed so I felt he had not struggled. He had been alert, active, and eating well just the day before. As the sun began to set, our neighbor farmer came with his large tractor, and. we put Tere in the front bucket. I watched him drive Tere away down the road to put him on his “burial” ground deep within his woods. I turned to walk back to the house thinking it a twist of fate that Tere would now feed the very wild animals that he protected our sheep from for the past two years. The lambs will miss him this spring, Alaska must take charge of keeping our sheep safe.