Such a sad day here at Curraghduff Farm with the loss of one of our alpacas. Moya, who was 13 years old, had been unwell and losing weight for a while but despite our best efforts, she went to sleep forever last night.
Moya and her 4 friends came to live with us in November 2017; but we had owned them for many months prior to that. We bought the small herd together when we still lived in England, as the owner was unable to keep them due to a change of circumstances. The fact that we didn’t have any land at that time didn’t seem to be a problem for us as we knew we were moving to a place with land. In fact, at that time, we didn’t even know where, but we were determined to start a new life in the country… somewhere. Thankfully we had met a lovely couple at a recent Glamping Show who knew what they were doing when it came to alpacas and agreed to take care of them for us. We visited a few times to get to know them and learn the ropes but to be honest, it wasn’t until they came to live with us full time, that we completely and utterly fell in love with them.
They had a long journey from Ilkley, England to Oughterard, Galway. We were so excited to finally have them with us but suddenly it felt like we didn’t have a clue. I can compare it to when I became a mum for the first time. I had researched everything about having a baby, read every article and asked a thousand people a million questions. I couldn’t have been any readier for my bundle of joy to arrive. Except, when he did, I was clueless. I had no clue what so ever, I just stared at him… but I knew that I loved him and that was enough. So, with the alpacas, we researched everything, read the books, joined alpaca groups, went on courses and built up contacts. Here they were at my farm and I just stared at them, clueless, again.
All 5 of the alpacas were very shy and avoided us like the plague. I just wanted them to love me. I would stare at them willing them to understand that I wouldn’t hurt them. I remember getting eye contact with one of them, as we gazed at each other, I was sure this was it, I was bonding with them. She responded to this by lifting her head and spitting at me. I learnt then that, my idea of lovingly looking into my alpaca’s eyes was in fact more like a fixed death stare to them. Handy to know.
The first time we tried to get them into the stables was eventful too. We ran around like a bunch of twits, just like on those Carry-On films, realising later that it was probably better to have the field cordoned off into smaller areas. Again, handy to know.
They soon accepted us and it was Moya who led the way. She was the first to get close to us, eat from our hands and chat to us by the stable door. She loved Stuart and would always make a point of giving him a little sniff as she walked past. Moya was a lady. She would walk so gracefully from her stable to the paddock, stopping to notice her surroundings and nibble on tasty bits of grass. She had this ability to look at you and make you melt. We always felt so blessed when she allowed us to get close to her. She loved a good old back scratch. It became a daily routine for her to rub up to a bush outside of the cottage. However, this gentle rub became more vigorous until she eventually began to simply throw herself into it. Moya 1 Bush 0. The bush has never recovered as it sits there looking all squished and broken. A part of me doesn’t want it to grow back, it reminds me of Moya, it’s a memory of Moya’s ‘Bush Hugging’.
As with all animals, alpacas can give you so much love. The trust that develops between you is simply heart-warming. They have different personalities, different likes and dislikes and can be won over by a little hand full of food. Unfortunately, this love means it’s devastating when they have to leave us. Heart breaking in fact.
I will always miss Moya, my little lady. I’ll miss her little face looking over the stable door, I’ll miss her little hum when she came over for a chat and I’ll miss watching her looking across the lough. But, we have got to be thankful that we had her in our lives, she taught us so much and we are honoured that she grew to love us.
Goodnight Moya x