Thursday, June 27, 2013

Little Joe

 I don't think I'm ready to write this... but it needs to be said.
Life on the farm is a very far cry from those golden sunsets, a gentle breeze, a nostalgic cock-a-doodle-doo in the morning, a sweet sparrow's song, happy chickens clucking away that you find on Pinterest. When someone says 'farm,' you immediately go to all these pastoral images from a children's book. Yes, those moments exist, and you relish every one of them. But there are days where life feels more like a Jack London story. Where there is life, there death lies also.

Remember our Star Wars day present? I left you thinking the kids' names were Luke and Leia Skywalker. Well, Mom used her veto power and they were redubbed Little Joe and Rita.

You could described Rita as one of those illegal fireworks - she's quite the little fuzzy ball of energy that cannot be contained. She could be the poster child for a healthy goat. Her brother on the other hand... ever since day one he struggled. He almost acted like a preemie. Actually, I think he was. His sister was ready to come into this world, but he needed some more time in the oven (so to speak). Things looked bad enough that we wouldn't let my sisters out in the barn the morning after he was born since we didn't know if he'd survive the night. He had trouble nursing; he couldn't stay on long enough to get any milk. And he was puny. His sister must have been the favored twin since she practically came jumping out. Well, he survived that first night. And he fought for survival for almost two months.

We did everything we could as different issues came up. We used a syringe to get more milk into the little guy. When his mom started putting them on a regimented schedule, we supplemented even more milk. He had trouble with mucous and milk coming out of his nose; we, ahem, cleaned his nose. As he started trying to add in more solid foods into his diet, that would come up his nose too. Do you know how hard it is to get your fat fingers into his tiny nose to get that stuff out? We used essential oils to help with respiratory issues, but he still had baby gunk in there that he couldn't cough out. We did a round of some antibiotics to see if that helped then we turned right around and gave him probiotics to replenish his intestinal flora. You get the point. He finally started gaining some weight and was starting to bounce around with the others. We thought that he had turned a corner.

Tuesday (June 25th), we noticed that he took a turn for the worse during morning chores. He had a flaming fever and just looked pathetic. We knew that it was pneumonia. He was primed for it... So we called the vet to see if we could get in that day, and they had a slot later that evening.  With the way our existing schedule was, I almost had to be the one to take the little guy in, but things shuffled around that I didn't. I was grateful - I'd rather go see a movie with a friend than spend it wringing my hands at the vet's. By the time I got home, Mom and Em had already left, and Jess and Eli were out in the barn welcoming our latest kids. Those baby goats became a much needed distraction in the next hour. I hadn't been home long when we got the call from Mom at the vet - we had to put him down.

What was going on? He had a congenital defect called 'cleft palate.' This has opened up a whole slew of questions and thoughts and second-guessing our whole dairy goat venture. We're still looking and researching what it's all about and how he ended up with such a horrible case of it. His whole life would be spent coughing and sneezing out whatever he just ate, fighting infection after infection.

No one was prepared for that phone call. We thought, We'll just get some antibiotics and IV fluids to get him back on track. Nope.

Looking back - that could have been me instead of Mom at the vet. I would have been the one staring at those papers debating whether or not to put him down. I would have been to one to have to filter the information, and it would have been me trying to console my sister. I wish I had gone instead of poor Emi...

Guess what color our newest buckling is - yeah. Black. Just like Little Joe. I see God's mercy in that.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, I am so so sorry... :'( thank you for sharing the hard times as well as the good.