Coping with Loss

One thing I’ve regretfully had to learn through the years is not to take any of my friends for granted. That includes the animal as well as the human ones. Each of us sails through life from one day to the next, plans and goals for what we hope to achieve dancing in our heads and oftentimes giving little thought to what tomorrow might bring instead. It may bring something very different than what we’d planned. This was brought home to me this week when we unexpectedly lost a couple of our goats.

Imnaha GRD Shine On Janette at 5 1/2 months

One was a yearling first freshener who was a granddaughter of one of our foundation does. She was a sweet, unassuming little doe who went about her business without complaint, and she went into labor right on cue on her due date. Two kids were delivered in reasonable order, but she was still straining and didn’t look like she was done. Sam thought she was just passing her placentas—she was a smallish yearling and had already delivered two kids, after all, but I didn’t think she was finished. Come morning and she was still straining and no placentas yet! Well, doing an impromptu Caesarian on the spot was out of the question, as was hauling her 37 miles to town in the back of the truck so the vet could take a look. Finally Sam and I reached the conclusion there was only one humane thing to do, and that was to put her down. Sam found during his post mortem that she had a huge buck kid lodged in full breech position, so short of doing that Caesarian, there was nothing else we could’ve done for her.

The second one was our biggest and best buck kid from one of our very best does. Mom had received her annual booster shot a month-and-a-half before she kidded to insure the kids got full immunity in her colostrum, and the three kids got all the colostrum their mom produced. I do have extra in the freezer just in case, but we didn’t need it. In addition, the little fellow had received his initial vaccination shot against enterotoxemia and tetanus, too. Imagine my shock when I went out to feed him and his siblings their afternoon bottles and found him curled up in the hay shed looking groggy. Went to pick him up, and he was listless and floppy. Well, that wasn’t normal! Sam and I took him into the milk room to check his temperature and vital signs so we could call the vet. Then we packed him onto the back porch/utility room and installed him in the bottom part of our dog crate that was lined with shavings, so we could keep an eye on him. By this time he’d cried out a couple of times and was obviously a very sick little puppy. The vet really didn’t have many suggestions to offer, so we gave him what we could. It didn’t help, and four hours after I found him down, he left us. Sam and the vet both said it could’ve been one of a number of things, but in terms of symptoms it was classic enterotoxemia. If it was, I don’t know what I could’ve done differently.

The buck kid standing in the photo is the one we lost.

So, today I’m trying to proactively deal with losing these two animals. Life goes on as before. I still have two wonderful kids from the little doe, plus I have the sister and brother of the little buck we lost. Chores and feeding must be done, no matter how sad you are, so I guess you reflect on how you could’ve done better, gather up your tears, and move on with what you have left. R.I.P. little ones. I’ll see you when I get to Heaven, but I won’t forget you in the meantime.

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