Autumn Mist by Lillian Beck
So many people have asked us about Autumn Mist that it seemed appropriate to tell her story. She was a rare find . The jewel hidden in a large herd. When we went to look at her, all we knew was that she was a full Bolivian and an appy.
One day we went to buy three females, and she
was one of our choices. When she was haltered , and I walked her, I knew Autumn
Mist had IT.
I showed this summer with a female llama , and came in second. The lovely lady who passed us by, to first was owned by Marcia Coit Brock. She had IT. She had "THE WALK"! I remember looking back and seeing Marcia come out with this female, and I saw IT, "THE WALK", and the judge saw it too. She said I picked first over second because she had "THE WALK".
Well, back to my story. Autumn Mist had IT. "THE WALK"! I felt it come right down the lead and into my hand. We walked down a lane, and I stopped and kissed her face and said. "I like you. Would you like to come home with us ? "
"Yes, " Autumn Mist said, "Iím lonely".
"Well, I said ,"Iíll have Dave walk you, and if you walk the same way for him you are coming home with us."
She walked, and she came home.
When we brought her home Autumn Mist was a little under weight. We all thought she just wasnít getting her fair share of the food since she had to compete against a large herd of big females. We decided to overfeed her and gave her everything she wanted. Boy, did she like us! She had three to four pounds of feed every day, and heavy on the minerals. After about nine months here and about a 60 lb. weight gain, we bred her. She had been wanting to breed for about four months , but we held back for more weight gain.
Before we bred her, we decided to show her. Even though she only went out to three shows, Autumn Mist ended up with an unbelievable following. People remembered her, and they still ask about her. I learned a lot from Autumn Mist. How to really groom a llama, how to show a llama , communications. She loved to communicate with you. Autumn Mist had a great hum. It was deep and throaty, booming like a base fiddle. She loved to tell you her position for the day. Iím hungry, Iím bored, let me follow you.
I discovered llamas donít hum only when they are unhappy. They will hum to make a statement to you, and if they discover you can communicate with them they love it.
Autumn Mist seemed to do well during her pregnancy, gaining weight at a regular pace. She was due for a November cria, but as the summer progressed you could tell she was tiring. One August day she took me down into the woods, and pointed down with her head, and I looked and saw a cria dead, lying there. It had been dead for several hours, a reverse appy female. I hugged her and told her how sorry I was, and then when I looked up, here were all the female llamas, who had let her privately show me her baby , now all behind us in a line. One by one they each came up to her first. Then one by one, they walked up to the cria, looked down and then left all in a line paying their last respects.
About a week later Autumn Mist didnít seem quite right. She couldnít eat much, and kept dipping her head and left ear in the water tanks and throwing the water over her shoulder. When we took her temperature it was 104. We had our veterinarian come over to check her, and he prescribed an antibiotic for her since she seemed to have an ear infection. A couple days later, and getting worse and she had developed a lump on her left jaw. We took her over to the emergency room at the University of Georgia.
They pulled her blood, and she was anemic, and they thought she had worms. But we knew better, after testing her for worms, and finding none, a more involved blood profile was done. This opened up a new surprising door for all of us. She had Eperythrozoon. This is an infection caused by parasites. These parasites are only found on the west coast, and apparently, she had come from the west with this infection years ago. The only treatment for this is oxytetracycline intravenously. This treatment would have to be continued for about ten days to successfully kill the parasites. As the days progressed her appetite increased, her hematocrit increased about 12%, and the number of parasites steadily decreased. I was very optimistic that she was going to make it and turned into some kind of cheerleader, while all around me the doctors kept cautioning me that it was so serious and had been going on for so long that the possibility of success were slim. In their own words in the report they sent us it says, "Unfortunately, the llama died at 5:00 AM. The cadaver was submitted for necropsy. Pericardial effusion, pleural edema, pulmonary edema were found. The kidneys were abnormal, the bone marrow was severely depleted."
This story is everyoneís story. The male, the female, the adult, or the cria that was lost, slipping like a thread through your fingers. The one you loved the most, the one you didnít want to loose, the one with the twinkle in her eye that made you smile everyday you saw it. The one who could wrap itís soul around your heart, the one who had "IT". Here is a salute to all the Autumn Mists who are trapped in our hearts, who we will always miss the most. I love you Autumn Mist.
Copyright © 1999 [Kent Rock Meadows]. All rights reserved.