“Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry.” - Dr. Seuss

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I apologize for how quiet it has been here. I have been trying to write a post since Friday the 3rd... and I have written several of them which remain unfinished. On Friday one of my Vets came out, a man I've known for over a decade. In fact he saw the first horse I had ever known and loved, off to the other side. Mellow had been starved, abused, and abandoned. We had tried everything possible to get her back on her feet, and had indeed seen her quality of life improve quite a bit. But it wasn't enough. The damage was too great to repair.

The Vet came in my barn, looked at the situation and then looked at me and sighed. I have known this entire time that I wouldn't be able to fix Sammy. That the reason this happened is because, although it seemed sudden to me, it had been a long process that had begun four years ago when he was a very sick little kid. Multiple times the Vet was here and looked at his legs, his feet. He's always walked funny, had terrible hooves, had off and on issues with standing, and discomfort which I've managed with pain meds, rest, constant care of his feet, salves... love. He told me we couldn't fix it and he believed it was damage. His joints pretty much just gave out, or became too sore. There was no swelling, no other problems. He was happy, perky, eating. But completely unable to stand.

I had told myself before the Vet came I needed to be strong no matter what but as the Vet waited for me to give him further imput, he knew I wasn't ready. He gave me pain medication to last a few days, and told me to call him Tuesday when he'd be back out this way. I agreed. Who knew what could happen in that amount of time. Over the weekend, Sammy was happy in most ways, but still in pain despite the meds. He kept struggling to try and stand, and it was frustrating, impossible, and painful, emotionally and physically. I went through all the stages of grief, at least twice. I was a wreck.

I've always trusted myself to make the right decision when it comes to my animals, even when I am forced to make decisions I'd rather never make. And I've known since Sammy was a sick little kid, there was a good chance at some point, I'd have to make a choice I wouldn't want to make. When Sammy was a baby, so sick, terribly sick, the Vets told me I couldn't save him. But somehow I did, and he was one of the happiest animals I've ever known. And most loving. But having said that, when faced with this now... it was one of the more painful things I've ever gone through. I'd rather go through all the pain and suffering after my surgery again, than this.

I honestly feel that death is not an end. I cannot believe that it is. I believe in my heart of hearts, even though sometimes I have let skepticism in, that it is just... a transformation. The light inside each being on this earth is too great to just go out, once and for all. I debated writing this post at all. To be honest, it hurts to much. But it is... life... and a reality of it and I felt it was important to share.

Amit Abraham, an Indian writer, wrote: "Some people in your life, touch you so very deeply, that you drown totally in that depth."

I have loved many animals, and I have been blessed to have been able to do so. I have tried very hard to always give them a safe, loving, home, where they are content, happy, and not hungry. They give me much in return. But with Sammy, he gave me more. My connection with him was so much deeper. When I looked into his eyes, I could see inside them, and he loved me back in a way I've never experienced before, not even with a dog. I know he was a goat. Just a simple Saanen goat that was going to be discarded at the dairy he was born at, but he would put his head up against my shoulder, and I could feel his heart. 

Tuesday morning I told him if I could take all of his pain, I would... and I did. I just wish I had another way. I could have given him more time by just continuing pain medication, but I would not have been doing it for him. I would have been doing it for me, and that's not fair. I could see the pain he was in, and it was greater than the light that was inside of him. Goodbye is always hard. Always. It always hurts, even when it's necessary. I've had to say goodbye a lot, when I was deep into rescue, and also on this farm. But this goodbye was probably the hardest one I've ever said. Time made me feel confident with my decision, which is important, the concern that I was making the wrong decision, which always comes, had passed. I was at peace with it.

But when the time came, my heart gave out on me, and so did my body. My mind went blank, I stopped breathing. I felt like I was falling off of the highest building in New York City. I had to turn away, something I've never done. I've never felt anxiety that bad in my life either, I thought for a while that I would just stop breathing. My eyes focused on Brie, and Henrietta, and Bulrush, all looking at me from their pens, standing up, their eyes, level with mine. They were unsure of what was happening, why my energy had become so anxious, so dark... But because of them, I remembered to breathe. They reminded me they were still living, and so was I.

And so it goes. A New Year begins on the farm with a very hard goodbye. It will take time for my heart to heal, although I am able to think of him already with happiness, the pain still comes when the realization I can no longer hold him comes back over me. The physical loss is always where we struggle most. But I am a better person for having loved that goat - and for having had his love, and complete trust.

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Sammy and Puffin

And because of this, even though it hurts, I feel peaceful, grateful. Animals, just like people, come into our lives and sometimes leave it. Sometimes it hurts. But sometimes it transforms us in ways we had not expected, and sometimes we are left with more than we started with.

And so... it's worth it. Every single time.


Henny Penny said…
I am so sorry for your loss. Sammy knew what it was like to be loved because of you. You were truly his friend. Wish I could take some of your pain away. I will be thinking of you.
Denise said…
I'm so sorry. So very sorry.
Mary Ann said…
And now he's free to be a happy goat again, and run over the rainbow pastures.... well done, Donna Madigan.
jean said…
Donna, I'm so sorry. I know your loss because we just lost our beloved doe, Farina and her triplets. Sammy could not have had a better home than with you. Your love made his life well worth the living.
Primitive Stars said…
Oh my friend, so heartbreaking to hear this, so very sorry for your loss.....it is heart wrenching to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but worth loving them till the end, Big Hugs Francine.
wendywoo said…
I am so very sorry. It is the worst/kindest/most painful thing we will ever do for those we love so dearly. RIP Sammy, you were LOVED.
Kelly said…
Tears streaming down my face...he may be just a goat to others,but like your own child to you,so sorry for your loss,those descisions are always the hardest,he was a beautiful goat,and will miss his pictures,you truely are a loving soul,take care
jaz@octoberfarm said…
oh donna...i am so sorry to hear about sammy. i know how awful this is. all we can do is embrace the fact that we give them the best lives we can. heal gently!
Jocelyn said…
"He was just a goat"--no such thing, my friend. He was your friend and you loved him. That makes him so, so much more.

I am so sorry for your loss--more than I can say. I have animals that I feel the same way about, and there's no way to describe the feeling of the connection, but I can understand how you felt about him, I truly can. He will be back, count on that. I've seen it a couple of times. He'll be a little different, but you'll know him anyway. Just wait and give it time. You'll meet him again.
Donna, I'm so sorry. I thought when I lost my Fooler, I would never have another horse again. But, my heart healed and I found Jolie.

I'm still grieving over Country. And will be for a long time.

Sammy had a wonderful life with you. I'm so glad you were able to give that to him.

Linda Parker said…
Crying, giving thanks for the wonderful spirits that come into our lives, no matter what form they come as. Remembering a few of my losses as well. Yes, time heals, but there will always be a spot of tenderness left for those we have loved who have moved on. Hugs and tears sent to you.
jody said…
Oh Donna, those goodbyes are soo hard.. Gut-body wrenching hard. Thinking about you my blog friend.
This post describes what it's like losing a beloved animal better than I ever could. While reading along, I kept saying "yes, yes, yes" with everything you wrote because I have felt it, too. I firmly believe that death is not the end, even with animals. I know we will be reunited with them someday. How could we not?

I am so terribly sorry about the loss of your Sammy. I'll be praying hard for you for peace and comfort. To me, there are few things more noble than saving and loving animals who most people wouldn't give a second look to. So many people think "it's just an animal" but those who know different like us are blessed.
12Paws said…
"I honestly feel that death is not an end. I cannot believe that it is. I believe in my heart of hearts, even though sometimes I have let skepticism in, that it is just... a transformation. The light inside each being on this earth is too great to just go out. . .,"
God will not eliminate any of his creatures, "the lion will lay down with the lamb." Whether goat, dog, cat, lamb or prairie dog, they will be judged for the way they lived just as mankind will be. A dedicated man of God said a long time ago: "Be thou comforted, Little Dog. Thou, too, in Resurrection, shall have a little golden tail." Martin Luther

Donna, you have a brave loving heart & soul. You gave Sammy a wonderful life, so treasure your memories and time will lessen your tears.
O'Quilts said…
I am sorry. U r so brave and love so deeply
k said…
I'm so sorry for your loss and thinking of you.
I am so sorry to hear about Sammy. Its never easy, but you did the best thing - he is no longer in pain. So hard to say farewell to a beloved pet. Be gentle with yourself.
Michele Hebson said…
Blessings come in ways that hurt as much as they do in purest joy. He is not in pain any more. You are but only for a little while. I pray for peace to enter your heart in knowing that he's no longer bound in a body that did not want to work right....he's free. I pray for strength to envelop you so that others can continue to know the love you have for them. I pray for healing of your heart so that your future truly knows the love that is there for you.
I'm so sorry you've had to go through this with your beloved Sammy, but thank you for sharing your story so beautifully. It helped mend my own heart a little, losing a beloved animal last month. He was blessed to have you in his life.
Terra said…
What a sweet sweet love you two had, and you gave each other a lot. You stood with him til the end and made the hard choice and I admire you.
Wanda said…
Dear Donna, I am so sorry for your loss and so very thankful that Sammy was part of your family. My heart hurts for you.
I am so very sorry for your loss of Sammy. What a beautiful post. Hugs to you.

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