It is with a heavy heart that I write this post this morning. Our dear, old llama, Merlin..."Merlin's Magic", was put to rest last night. He didn't want to get up from his resting spot yesterday morning. All the horses filed outside, one by one, carefully stepping around him. :) They were always so careful not to step on him. My husband left some hay in Merlin's feed box for him, but it remain untouched throughout the day. When I got home last night, I went and checked on him. He was outside in the round pen grazing, so I went inside to start a fire and warm up the house. A little while later, I went back out to bring the horses in for the night. I don't really recall exactly where Merlin was, but I put the horses in their stalls, one by one, and gave them a flake of hay to tie them over until we came back out for stall cleaning.
When my husband came back out, he found Merlin outside leaning against the gate, with his head resting between the wood slats of the round pen. He was very weak, and didn't seem able to stand on his own. We managed to get him to walk inside the barn, out of the wet and cold night. He had no interest in eating and had a bit of blood coming from his nose. I think he may have went down and hit his nose, there wasn't much blood. He was so very, very weak and had great difficulty standing without leaning against a wall. He also seemed a little disoriented so he may have had a stroke, or suffered a heart attack. We'll never know for sure, but we were pretty sure he wasn't going to come back from whatever happened. I made the call to my boss, and asked him to come put our old friend down. He agreed that it was the best thing to do.
Merlin was quite old for a llama. We've had him since he was just a year and a half to 2 years old. We got him the year we moved into our home, in a trade for an old, green and pink riding lawn mower. I have no idea why we got him, we just did. We've had him ever since, and that was 19 years ago. He's been a source of amusement, a good friend and playmate of Harley's, and a thorn in our side ever since. :) You see, there were many occasions when he would escape (always because a gate had been left open). Into the fields he would run, galloping in that silly gait that llamas have, up and down the hills, around and around...as long as the game would go on. I know he enjoyed it. Once we wised up and didn't chase him, we learned to just leave the gate open and he would wander back in; disappointed that we'd not given chase. We had his number, after all those years. He was always smarter than we were.
He may have been a homely old coot, everyday was a bad hair day for him, and he smelled bad; but we loved him. There was a kindness in Merlin. He never did any harm to anybody, no matter how small. And he never, ever spit at any person, ever. It just wasn't his way. And over the years, there were many times that we gave him good reason to spit at us. He'd look us squarely in the eye, chortle deep in his throat, and do no more. He hated to be groomed, so years ago we just stopped. We fed him along with the horses, every day, and he lived with the horses and was just part of the herd. He was part of our family and he was as free as any animal who was domesticated, could be. He always let us know what his wishes were, and we pretty much, always complied. At least to the best of our ability to understand him, we did. We will miss him. So much.
Oh, and he had the most beautiful eyes! They were deep, dark brown, with dark blue irises fringed with long, black eyelashes...so dark, looking into those eyes was like looking into a deep watery pool of knowledge, or magic. Hence his name. Merlin's Magic. And he was wise. I know he was.
R.I.P. dear, old friend. You will be missed.
But, I am so thankful that you were a part of our lives. We are better for having known you. :)