It’s been a while since I have been able to find the time to write. I know many are anxious to hear how our Pearl is doing and I am happy to tell you the news is good.
As Pearl has been getting stronger Ric and I have been going out several times during the day and getting her into a standing position. Initially she wasn’t able to bear any weight on her legs, but as the days progressed she started to be able to put weight on first her back legs and then her front legs. Soon Pearl was at a point where she could balance on her own for a few seconds. At times we would catch her trying to push herself up, she was getting stronger and wanted to be up and about but her body was not quite ready yet for that feat.
Our last Open Farm Day was October 12; it was a lovely fall day with blue skies, sunshine and just a little bite in the air. I monitored Pearl throughout the day making sure she got her medicines and always had access to hay and water. When all of our visitors had gone Ric and I went out to make sure Pearl had hay and water and to stand her up. Once we got her standing she seemed pretty stable so Ric suggested we let go of her and see what happened. So let go we did, and then with shaky, wobbly, ungainly steps Pearl walked. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t for very long but we could tell Pearl was very excited to be able to move around on her own – and you can bet that we were excited too!
As Pearl tired she grew very wobbly and soon she cushed (sat down) again. We gave her a lot of praise and made sure she had plenty of hay and water to celebrate her major progress with.
From that point on Pearl’s progress has been quite amazing. To begin with we still had to help her get up, but once we did she would always walk for a several steps before she had to cush again. Unfortunately the other alpacas didn’t realize that Pearl had a limited time to be up on her feet, curious to see Pearl up and about they often crowded around her and got in her way so Ric and I had to make sure we cleared a path for our special girl. Out of the way girls, Pearl is coming!
As Pearl’s legs have gained strength she has gone from not being able to get up on her own to being able to get up on her own and move about at will. The act of cushing from a standing positing was quite challenging for her to begin with, but as her muscles have strengthened and her joints have got used to moving again she is managing to cush much easier. It is still a little challenging to her but every day it gets a little easier.
I think one of Pearl’s biggest joys, once she was up and about, was when she was able to make it to the poop pile instead of having to poop and pee where she lay. The instinct to poop and pee on the poop pile is very strong in alpacas, and if you are in any doubt about that you would soon have that doubt removed if you saw how hard Pearl worked to get to that poop pile and do what she wanted to do!
Pearl is a little hunched up at the rear and we can see that her legs are still not quite back to normal, but it is only 11 days since she started walking again and given the progress that she has made in that short time we are optimistic that in time she will walk normally again. It has been nothing short of amazing to see Pearl’s progress every day.
Pearl continues to be her sweet self with the exception of when I treat her legs with my photonic red light. Then she tells me that she is not a fan of my light touching her legs, something that is much more the behavior of a healthy alpaca. A good sign.
When Pearl is walking and starts to get tired she makes rapid little hums as though to say “I want to keep walking but I just can’t do it anymore” I let her cush wherever she is and allow her to rest before moving her back into a pen where we can feed her away from the other alpacas.
In the mornings now Pearl is sometimes up and walking around when we get up. The leaves are starting to fall from the trees and on Monday morning I got up to find Pearl up and about looking for fallen elm leaves which are an alpaca delicacy. On Monday evening Pearl even tried to run a little as the rest of the herd ran towards the hay at feeding time. Pearl now walks over to join her regular feeding group in the morning. She can’t quite remain standing for the full time they are eating but she tries and she tries hard. Step by step, moment by moment Pearl gets closer to being “normal” again.
Pearl is still on medication; probiotics once a day and a homeopathic liquid twice a day. I continue to use the photonic red light on her but am now treating her every other day. Pearl also still receives her daily bowl of vegetables along with her regular hay and grain, she gets so excited when she sees me coming with her feed, uttering grunting noises and sometimes flicking her tail up in the air. At times I get the impression that she feels her waitress service is not quite as rapid as she would like it to be!
Throughout her recovery Pearl has showed immense strength, determination and will to live, she never once seemed as if she was going to give up, she just fought and fought and fought. I believe that strength and will to live have been crucial components of her recovery. We can do all we can to aid an alpaca’s recovery, but if they decide they don’t want to live all the medicine in the world won’t fix the problem. Pearl wanted to live, and live she has.
We still have a way to go with Pearl, but I feel we are now on the downward slope and that time will be her best medicine from this point on.
I send many thanks to all those who have prayed and sent healing thoughts to Pearl, those who have emailed or called to check on her progress. All of those kind and good acts have been very much appreciated and just look at the results they have created!