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My Beloved Camels

by Toiny Westberry on 27 February 2013
in Adventures in Germany,Personal Notes,Toiny Pin this scrappy stuff!

Everyone in my house has a cold.  A bad, horrible, terrible, stuffy cold.  Everyone except Dane.  Dane who is bursting with pride at being needed.  He is happily racing from room-to-room fetching juice, tissues or medicine to keep us all from being too miserable.  I am praying all his efforts aren’t rewarded with a big dose of this cold.  He most definitely does not deserve this one.

Last week I got my first issue of our new local paper.  On the front page was a big article on my favorite camels (see The Dolphin of the Schwarzwald).  I fell in love with them the moment I was first almost-run-over by one three St. Nicholas’ ago.

I’d been walking through downtown Herrenberg, searching for Christmas presents, when I rounded a corner and stepped right under a camel!  I’m not kidding when I say camel drool narrowly missed my head.  Of course I was intrigued, and the kids were bouncing to have a ride.  But there was a long line, I was without camera, and our errands called my name.

Two years later, last summer, we again found the camels.  Boom! Smack! In the middle of downtown Nagold, offering kids a free ride.  And no line.  My kids happily hopped on & got a camel ride.  In Germany!  What a huge smile this brought to everyone’s face.

I took pictures and read about the camels use as therapy animal (much like dolphins and horses) here in the Schwarzwald.  I just fell in love with them even more.  I donated some money to the program, and each of the kids got some of the camels fur (hair?) to take home.  It turned a hot, frustrating day into a magical, happy day.  It was very easy to see why camels would be good therapy animals.

When we moved to our new house this December, we moved closer to the camels home.  I learned that they did birthday parties, and my plan had been to celebrate Dane’s 6th birthday with the camels this summer.  This all changed, for me, last week when I opened my first copy of the local newspaper.

On the first page was an article on my beloved camels.  There had been a fire January 31 (I can’t even type this without crying) and 86 camels and one llama died. Only 5 survived.  My heart absolutely broke, it is still broken.  The pain I feel can be nothing compared to the pain the owners (Rose und Wilhelm Breitling), or their caregivers, feel.  I can’t imagine such an enormous loss.  Even Dave came home that night and cried with me.

Yesterday there was a spark of good news, one of the remaining five, Ludmilla, gave birth to a precious baby girl: Liora.  I’ve been anxiously refreshing their facebook page to see a picture: https://www.facebook.com/#!/kamelhof

Last summer I got a couple great shots of their camels in Nagold.  This one is either Drusilla or Blümchen, that I can’t remember just hurts that much more.

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