December 10, 2020

She showed up in the nick of time. Earlier or later would not have worked. It was God’s perfect timing. Jaiden is the teenage granddaughter of my friend Carrie. Carrie and I have attended the same Bible study life group at our church for years and now we have been on Zoom together twice a week since the pandemic hit. Carrie thought Jaiden needed to come to our Albergue Garcia farm to be around animals and learn about caring for them. God knew we needed a living breathing teenager in our presence. I had just retired from Peak Vista Community Health Center where I interacted with parents and children all day long four days a week. And then there was abruptly nothing. Because of our age and health concerns, we were home bound.

So enter Jaiden, a sweet teenage girl with a calm loving presence about her and she was interested in our farm animals! I just had delivered our youngest pregnant Alpaca’s baby by pull-’em-out-because -she will-not -push-on-her-own-and-someone-is-about-to-die method. Then the Mom, Coco, argued that surely this helpless, wet, long legged, long neck, Daddy Long Legs spider looking creature was not her baby and most of all not her responsibility.

Coco would have nothing to do with Sugar, as we called her new daughter. And Sugar had no idea what to do with her Mom. All the natural instincts for nursing did not kick in even with penning them up close together.

I desperately started to bottle/syringe feed Sugar with the drops of colostrum I could get unwillingly from Coco. I had bottle fed goat kids, kittens, puppies, and calves in the past but never an alpaca cria. The cria has such a differently shaped mouth and most of all a different disposition. The feeding tube I would use to gavage my baby goats when they would not nurse was not long enough for this young camelid’s digestive system.

Jaiden saw our animals in a fresh new way. She and her grandma Carrie, masked and socially distanced, encouraged me and Sugar. Soon we were going from me having to force feed by syringe an unwilling alpaca baby to Sugar nursing on the bottle herself.

Jaiden kept coming back each week cheering us all up through this past Fall. Gracie, our horse got the attention she needed. Her human had just been too depressed to brush her out the way she needed to be. We all need to feel needed. It is our human nature. It is also animal nature.

After 2 precarious weeks, Coco and Sugar miraculously figured out the whole bonding and nursing routine. Praise God.

Psalm 54:4

Behold, God is my helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

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