Sunday, December 29, 2013

Believing in things unseen...

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We had a nice Christmas here, although I went a little crazy with the cooking and baking as usual. I love to cook, it's a great distraction for me and comfort, and cooking for people I love, is my way of expressing that, so I kind of felt that I needed to do it even though it wasn't expected of me. But we had plenty of good food to eat, and we all enjoyed it, although I completely wore myself out. 

It's been a time of very high stress around here aside from my own health, I've been worried sick (no doubt, literally) over Douglas. Since our trip to the Vet and starting antibiotics, he actually got a little worse. He started showing less interest in food and became even more depressed. I kept up with the antibiotics though because he wasn't vomiting and everything else seemed normal and I wanted to at least keep it up until we saw the Vet for our follow up (which is tomorrow.) Douglas usually is happy go lucky, and spends every waking second with me, where I go, he goes... he's always one step behind me. Lately he sleeps on the dog bed in the living room (where he never sleeps) because he could not jump on the couch with me, he wouldn't sleep in bed, his tail was hanging down. Thursday afternoon Jim and I were talking about how sad it was because he wasn't the same dog at all. 

Thursday was a nightmare for me. My baby, my heart goat, Sammy, has taken ill. I cried so much it took hours for the swelling in my face to go down. I thought for a moment, I'd die from the pain in my heart. But I knew I had to collect myself. I've chosen this life. I've decided to have these particular animals in my life (most of them who have come from places where they had hard starts to life), in my care, and while it is wonderful so much of the time and such a blessing, it's also very painful, and anyone with animals, who loves their animals, will understand that. Things can't be perfect all the time and the times when everyone is doing well are huge blessings and never to be taken for granted.

Sammy has been sick from the day we picked him up at a day old at a big dairy farm. I picked up four, day old bucklings that day (who were being disposed of) and one died within two hours of us getting him home. They had not received proper colostrum and were weak beyond words. Probably beyond repair. The larger two were easier to save, they just needed food and warmth, but Sammy, and the little buckling whom died right away, were also very sick. They had fluid coming from their noses, in their lungs, and couldn't even stand up. It took me almost four months and a lot of money and TLC but Sammy lived. The Vet's told me he would not. But somehow with a lot of effort and determination on both of our parts, he got through.

He needed constant care, which I gave him, and I fell asleep many nights with that little goat in my lap in the recliner. But since saving him from his kidhood and illness he's had many problems.. His legs were twisted and he did not grow properly, his hooves have never been right. His feet need constant care and are a constant problem. The farm Vet told me he would just be a lot of work and never be really right. I knew that, but I've cared for that goat everyday since. He has given me just as much love or more as I have given him.

Once I was through having a complete emotional breakdown and collected myself, I began treating him and continue to do so while also praying really hard at the same time. I had some hope today, I saw some positive signs, but I need to remain neutral as I see our way through this as much as I can. Every time I feel the sadness and doubt coming over me, I remind myself how sick he was as a baby and that it was a miracle he lived. And I remind myself of Beatrice, one of my does, who had polio and could not even use her legs at all, but we saved her, and physical therapy restored the use of her legs, and she is fine now, a beautiful healthy girl. Or Braveheart the blind ram who got an infection in his blood at a week old and lost his sight and very nearly his life... he is now a healthy 7 year old boy. We've had many miracles on this farm and sometimes when I remind myself of each of them, it's hard to believe how fortunate we've been.

 Life is give and take. 

While I collected my emotions and thoughts Thursday evening, Douglas jumped on the couch and sat next to me. It took me a moment to realize he had done that all by himself for the first time in 3 weeks. Then when I went to lie down in bed and rest, he followed me and by himself, jumped into bed. Then he jumped out of bed, got his favorite toy, and jumped back in all by himself. By then, my mouth was open in amazement. He slept with us all night, and Friday and Saturday continued being happy, starting to do all of his normal activities and behaviors. Today, he's acting 100% himself, he's happy, he's doing every single Douglas thing again, he's jumping up on the couch, the bed, following me around, playing with the other dogs... it was like magic. 

But it's not magic. It's the antibiotics. Apparently it WAS the lyme disease causing him to limp and loose his light. I am so grateful we started treating him for it and also that our Vet looked for it. I have my other half back. We still have a month of treatment left, but he's getting better, and we are on the right track.

It's always a balance in life, at the farm. A balance of good and bad, easy and hard, happy, and heartbreaking. I've often thought it's too much and my heart can't take it. That maybe I need a different style of life because I can't take the hard parts of this life anymore. 

But this life has taught me to never give up hope and even when it's over to be happy for every single minute of it. The memories over time that stand out are the happy ones and not the painful ones. And each of those memories become a part of us, of our being. Sometimes these animals break my heart, but most of the time, they keep it beating...

And so we fight another day... and keep believing in miracles. 

12 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

thank goodness that douglas is feeling better. and poor sammy! i sure hope he improves. it is so tough when our babies get sick. it is still raining and teddy is not happy!

Primitive Stars said...

Oh I feel for you, I love my animals with my heart and soul to, but hard when they are sick. So happy Douglas is feeling better now to get Sammy to,Blessings Francine.

Ellen in Oregon said...

Were sending out lots of positive thoughts for Sammy. I'm sure you are doing everything you can for Sammy, the way you did when you first got him from that farm.
So glad to hear that Douglas is on the mend. I just went though the same kind of thing with my cat & it is so sad to see them with their spirits so low & they instinctively want to isolate themselves. Then, their personalities come back & they act like nothing happened. So glad you have your buddy, Douglas, back in action.
It must have felt good it get back in the kitchen even though you overdid. I baked a little bit this year just enough to make it feel like Christmas, but nothing like the normal amount of baking. I'm now on oxygen because of heart failure & it was quite the crazy obstacle course between cats thinking the tubing was a toy & not tripping on 35 ft. of line or shutting the tubing in the oven door. Now I know how dogs feel being on a leash.
I hope you & Kevin have a peaceful New Year and that 2014 brings continued health improvements, the ability to see the glass half full, the comforting companionship of your 3 boys, lots of maple syrup & faith that with the support on one another, you can get through anything.

Mary Ann said...

Oh, Donna... how VERY WELL SAID. Thank you!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I know all too well how you feel. I've often thought of giving up my way of life because it hurts so bad when I lose an animal. I try to remember the joy they've given me but I get so attached to everyone that a loss is felt so hard.

I hope your boys continue to get better. I will keep them in my prayers!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

So glad that Douglas is back to 100%.
You do have a good attitude about the cycle of life with multiple animals. When you choose to love animals, you choose to have your heart broken too. But it's all worth it, for sure.
Happy New Year to you and yours.
N

jody said...

Oh my goodness i can just emagine you have been heart sick! So glad douglas is better and i hope Sammy will be too! Its so hard but gosh i need these fur babes in my life! Sadie went home and last night got a picture of her clearly not feeling well, she hurt her tongue on froze metal. Poor thing i feel so bad but shes better today. When they hurt so do we. I hope you are feeling better too! I need to read and catch up. December was a bit to busy..enjoy your evening with your babes!

k said...

Sending positive thoughts for Sammy, Douglas and you. So glad Douglas is getting better. You have such a talent for writing truly meaningful things and your blog continues to be a source of inspiration.

Lana said...

Sure hoping Sammy gets better for you, and soooo glad to hear Douglas is more his usual self. Lyme disease is such a frightening illness. I have often thought the same thing, about it sometimes being too hard to lose precious animals that every year seem to inevitably come and go. But I remember you reminding me that it is always worth it, to see the gratefulness in their eyes, and to give them the kind of life most couldn't. Keep doing what you are doing, it is who you are. ;)

Henny Penny said...

You are an angel. I worry myself sick over animals too. We have been through many sad times because we have animals. Animals have given us many many happy years though. Wishing you a happy new year.

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

love, joy, happiness and grief....all come hand in hand with being care takers of our special fur babies.


sorry your boys are sick, hopefully Douglas is all well now. Hoping that Sammy gets better.

jean said...

I'm glad Douglas is doing better.

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