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I spent most of last night and a fair portion of today letting myself grieve the loss of a goat. Shamrock, the goat the vet skillfully tended to, died.
I knew that it was a possibility. I was aware of the risk, but wanted to give her every opportunity to survive and thrive, so the vet was called. She was my oldest goat, and frail in her own way. This last stressful episode of being off feed, having a dead baby stuck inside her that potentially cost her life, and the cold...was just too much for her.
After the vet left, I saw she was getting shock-y. She was drooling, shaking, and despondent. Covering her with blankets, and offering her molasses water meant nothing. She was on her way out.
I held her head to my chest for close to an hour, cried tears of regret, what if's, and profound sadness. I told her how wonderful she was, how much I appreciated what she had given--milk, babies, a level, calm personality. I still feel responsible, even though I did everything I could to help. Too late on some fronts, but I moved with the information she gave me about being unwell. My small comfort is in the fact that she had over 10 years of a good life with green pastures, comfortable housing, and an opportunity to live a fulfilling goat life. She was a foundational part of my goat family.
The vet followed up this morning with a phone call; he was shocked that she had died. He again comforted me with kind words, potential reasons for her death, and wished me well. Bless that man for his big heart!
Even as I type this blog, tears are running down my face. Who knew that a goat would cause this reaction?
I have been making sure that Shamrock's little guy is getting milk from other nanny goats. I love on him extra hard, am quick to defend and nurture him in these last 12 hours, and pray this cold snap ends soon. It will make this surrogation situation less crucial in terms of life and death.
I'm a farm girl, and I am well aware that farm life says that all things live and die. It's part of the cycle. I am grieving this death and my part in it. Time will heal, I am sure, and for the time being my tears are the expression of my heart.
As the Good book reads,"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn..."
I'll squeeze the baby goats a little closer tonight when I check in on them. I'll love the beauty of my momma goats tending their little ones, and I'll be sure to allow the potential of what is, and what's yet to come fill the hole in my grieving heart.
Goodbye, Shamrock. You are so well loved...