This is hard to share, hard to accept, and hard to know how to write.
Last Friday, after a scary and intense couple of days driving back and forth to the animal hospital, we said goodbye to our precious Meh, the world’s sweetest and spiciest llama.
We are happy to answer any questions his friends may have, and actually I will share in a separate post what had been happening in his life and how it all came to a head last week. For now, I would really like to just honor his spirit and invite his friends to share a little memory. Because man was he a memory maker!
Meh was was one the few Farmily members who was actually born here at the Lazy W, not adopted. He joined us in early June, 2014, so he was fast approachng his tenth birthday. He earned the named “Meh” because from infancy he tottered all around these nine acres just mewing that sing-song word that could mean literally anything and everything. “Meh! Meh! meh meh meh” all day long. Meh. With a hundred unique intonations. It used to crack us up. When he was old and naughty enough to earn a verbal reprimand, we cracked up all over again because have you ever tried to say MEH sternly and with authority? Try it right now. It’s hard to do. He chose his sound, and name, wisely.
He was caramel colored, eventually brown, and especially skinny at birth; but he put on weight like a champ. By Meh’s first birthday, we had adopted Klaus, and the two of them became instant friends. We have always felt that they grew up together, and most of the time I don’t think Meh knew he was a llama. He always tried to hang out with the horses, but the three of them often had conflict. So he gravitated happily to our big German Shepherd, who is a friend to all. Those two provdided just the right amount of play fighting that each could handle, and we loved it.
Meh was not destined to mate with a female llama, but nobody told his hormones. He was in tact and ready to party, which is part of what made him such an excellent farm protector. Not one coyote has appeared in all the years we have had him, and I remember years before seeing not just coyotes but also at least one cougar, plus lots of bobcats. He had a penchant for my brunette girlfriends and a few male friends with long, usually dark colored, beards. We warned guests to never go into this field without me, and I ususally carried a pitchfork if the guest was brunette. We called it wearing a llama backpack. If you have ever received that particular show of affection from a large animal, you will not forget it.
He was not just protective and territorial but also smart and hilarious. Meh was easily one of the most social animals we have ever had the pleasure (and terror) of caring for. He would stretch his massive, noodly neck, absolutely wrapped in thick muscles, over the fence, yearning for a face to face conversation. The final result could be anything from a sweet, fuzzy-mouth, butterfly kiss to poofed up cheeks ready to launch vomit-spit. We told people they were taking their own chances, yo. His reasons for preferring some people over others were his and his alone. Apart from hair color, it was hard to discern.
Meh enjoys the distinciton of being the only Farmily member whose portrait we have ever commissioned.
Overall, Meh was so loving. He had a lot of love to give, and he needed just as much in return. He demanded it. He was far from being a solitary creature. Although he didn’t love to be brushed, he would often sidle up between the horses while they were being groomed. He also was amenable to a necessary summertime shearing, so long as his BFF Klaus was nearby to let him know everything was ok. He loved for his throat to be scratched and petted, especially by his Daddy. He tolerated mowkawk tickles.
Meh rejected 99% of the treats offered to him over the years, but his appetite for hay and sweet grain was strong. When we rejected breakfast last Wednsday, I knew he was in trouble. He had never in all these years missed one meal.
Meh was physically much stronger than his skinny legs might make you think. And his soul was as deep as his eyelashes were long. He was moody, yes, but aren’t we all? And he was noisy always, gradually progressing from his monoyllabic chant to a truly impressive Xena Princess Warrior trilling type of scream that was so loud and unsetttling, our neighbors have on a few occassions thought it was me, being attacked. Zero out of ten stars, do not recommend hearing that sound in the middle of the night.
Meh was one of the most emotional and expressive creatures I have ever known. When Romulus died, he grieved outwardly in dramatic, almost theatrical ways. He laid over Rom’s body, scraped his head up and down over his father’s neck, and wailed in a brand new, guttural way. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would have trouble understanding this description, so if you cannot envision it, I get that. Just know that he felt the loss profoundly. He knew. His grief was undeniable, and we cried all over again that day, just watching him cry. The same thing happened with Shelby back in November. That, in fact, was the day Meh’s aggressive behavior turned a corner. But I’ll share more of that in his medical story.
Meh was mostly brown with lots of black and white markings. He had mile long, broomy eye lashes and strong, narrow hooves. I saw a wide ribbon of fresh llama prints in the back field the day afetr we buried him, and I wanted to pour concrete over them so we could see them forever.
Because Meh was born here, and for a thousand intimate reasons, we decided to forego the service that would have removed his body for offsite burial. My husband dug an excellent grave by hand, and we laid him to rest, deep in the front field. We wrapped him with one of Klaus’ bedsheets and gave him a bouquet of some of the garden treasures he has always eaten quite without permission. I will very much miss scoldoing him for tomato and okra contriband this summer. We plan to grow a pine tree near his grave, because almost no matter the weather, he has always preferred to sleep beneath one.
The farm is stragely quiet without him. Klaus has looked for Meh in the last place they saw each other, and that breaks my heart. And we are feeling both the grief of missing him in particular as well as what feels like an accumulation of grief from so many losses over these past thirteen months. More than ever before, in all the years we have lived here, we have said goodbye so many times. Such is the nature of aging animals and, well, life in general. Jessica said it best when she reminded me gently, that it is not meant for any creature to live forever. Not human, not animal. Everyone dies.
But still. I would love to run to outside once more and negotiate a desperate peace treaty between our spicy llama and his pasture mates. I would love to purposefully grow an extra row of okra and peppers so he can uproot and destroy as many as his heart desires. And I know my husband would love to come home after work and receive Meh’s reliable driveway kisses and cryptic grunts and moans. Everyone will miss him at family holidays and community farm parties. He was the life of the party. He will almost certainly be our last llama.
If you have a special memory of our boy, whether funny or terrifying or anything at all, we would be so happy if you shared it!Thank you for loving our Farmily with us.
Brandy & Marie & Klaus
Meh’s Loyal & Hearbroken Subjects