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In Memoriam: Zoom-Zoom, October 2, 2009 – April 19, 2010

April 20, 2010

Zoom-Zoom, October 2, 2009 - April 19, 2010

     Zoom-Zoom was 3 weeks premature when he was born. His birth was hastened by a heat wave that left two other preemies dead. He was only 10.4 pounds at birth, the average weight of crias is 15-17 pounds.

     Little as he was, he didn’t act like other preemies. He was strong, anxious to stand and eager to nurse. He negotiated the learning curve of suckling like a pro and for once I didn’t have to stay up all night making sure he got enough colostrum. The only signs that he was premature were his diminutive size and the fact that his ear tips flopped forward. We referred to him as the miniature paca.

     He seemed to thrive and grow, although he was always much smaller than his cohort friends.  And he didn’t really enter into the rough and tumble life of a young cria like the others. He continued to grow until about 30 pounds when he stalled.  My records show he had some sort of infection in December that we treated, but that may have been something more serious than we realized. For the past two months, Michelle, our herd manager had been remarking that he wasn’t quite as vigorous and snappy as the other kids. But he ate well, or seemed to, and loved his grain in the afternoon.  Everytime I’d call him and bend over, he’d come up for a kiss — a soft, sweet, fuzzy-muzzle kiss.  However, he just didn’t gain weight.

     Last week I took him to the vet for tests.  He had Rickets. We  give midwinter shots of Vitamin D to our babies to prevent this from happening. I saw his xrays and the enlarged bone articulations at the joints. He was classic — lethargic, lay down a lot, and didn’t grow. He had all the symptoms, but I just didn’t recognize his condition — until it was too late.

     Yesterday evening Curt and I were in the Oklahoma City airport when we received a call from Michelle saying that Zoom-Zoom had broken his hind leg. She was with him at the vet. Liz, our vet, was not hopeful and even consulted with a vet orthopod who could do surgery, but felt that the Rickets would make any healing unlikely. Curt was ready to let him go,  but had Liz talk to me to convince me of the futility of the situation. He knew I’d have a hard time letting him go.

     I cannot tell you the pain I feel over losing that little boy.  I feel like I have lost a piece of innocence. He was irreplaceable.  

      In November, on the Sunday that was the Feast of St. Francis, our minister was out of town. She asked me to do the traditional Blessing of the Animals in her stead.  We honor St. Francis and acknowledge how important our role is in stewarding our world and its creatures.  Members bring pets of all types to church for individual blessings.  We’ve always taken two or three alpacas. Last year we sat on the front row with three very well-behaved youngsters who walked down the aisle, took their places without a fuss and hummed occasionally when the mood moved them. They are enchanting.

     Curt brought only one this year, since I was officiating — Zoom-Zoom. He sat on Curt’s lap the whole time and was a perfect little gentleman. He was 4 weeks old. The few children there brought their dogs and cats up to meet him after the service. I have a picture somewhere of me in robes holding Zoom-Zoom. I hope I can find it.

      So let me wax maudlin for a few moments. Zoom-Zoom died on my mother’s birthday – April 19. She would have been 99 years old and horrified that anyone could live that long. I’m sure she left whatever she was doing and gathered Zoom-Zoom up in her arms, “loved him up” some, then tenderly led him to meet Turbinado, his half brother and uncle, who died last year. She’d want him to have a playmate in the next life.

     Well, little Zoom-Zoom, rest in peace, heal in spirit from your suffering and join us again when you’re ready. We have lots of wombs that would love to nourish you when you’re ready to try again. I promise to be more vigilant and a better steward of your little life when it returns. Say, “Hi!” to Mother and don’t let her offer you more to eat and drink than you want. She may get her feelings hurt if you say, “No,”  but that’s just her way of loving you.

     God bless you, Zoom Zoom. I love you and I miss you terribly. I kiss your face.


Zoom-Zoom as I see him now.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2010 4:27 pm

    Oh, Nancy…I’m so sorry about Zoom-Zoom…I believe that he died on your mom’s birthday for a reason (I received the mailed envelope containing my mother’s last wishes the very day that she died of a heart attack)…

    It sounds like your “little boy” gave people a lot of joy in his short life…


    • April 20, 2010 7:48 pm

      Thank you, Wendy, for your thoughts. A friend of mine called immediately and told me the significance of his dates of birth and death in her life. There are no coinkidinks, are there?


  2. April 20, 2010 6:11 pm

    My heart breaks for you as well. The animals in our lives bring us so much joy and comfort that when they are gone, especially when they are so young, they leave a giant hole behind. I am sure you did everything in your power to ensure that Zoom-Zoom lived a wonderful and enriching life.

    Maybe his brief stay in this life was because it was a learning life. He learned and taught what he needed to, so it was time to say goodbye so he could go on to the next phase. That is small comfort when their time with us seemed to short, but we must take what comfort we can find and honor them in any way we can.

    • April 20, 2010 7:57 pm

      What a wonderful way to look at his little life. This thought doesn’t remove the void left by his dying, but it does make me smile to think of him as a little wise soul learning and teaching. He surely opened me up to a depth of feeling. His pure innocence is his gift to me–an innocence we all are, that is only reflected back to us by those who are pure and guileless. I can really honor him for this and it does give me comfort.

      Thank you, crazyinthemaking, you are a teacher yourself.

  3. planejaner permalink
    April 20, 2010 8:23 pm

    Oh, sweetie. What more is there to say? As an aside…April 19th is my grandmother’s birthday…perhpas your mother and my grandma Ruth know each other now? I think we must know a soul, animal or human, for a reason. His innocence perhaps brings you back to a place of vulnerability, for yourself.
    that is a good place to be, if you can keep breathing.

  4. Jennifer Barricklow permalink
    April 24, 2010 11:41 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your memories of this sweet soul. I love the picture you have of him now; angel wings truly suit him.

    Wishing you peace,

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