Days of Our Lives (7-4-23)
It has been a rough week.
It started out well enough with a vet visit two Fridays ago. Drifter and Valor, the two guardian dogs, were due for their annual shots, and because they are so big and unaccustomed to going places, I find that it’s easier having the vet come to them on the farm, rather than wrestling them off the farm and bringing them to the vet.
Valor especially did me proud. She was friendly, happy but calm, didn’t jump up, didn’t throw herself on the ground belly up (which she tried last year as a puppy, so that it was very difficult to give her any shots), and didn’t even woof at two strangers coming in to her pasture. Very, very good girl!
And then, that very same evening, I caught her in the act of chasing one of the goats. I don’t know why or what started it, but there it was, right in front of me. Very, very bad girl. Even though no physical harm was done, it is simply not acceptable for a livestock guardian to chase the livestock she’s supposed to be guarding.
I was disgusted and disappointed. Figures, after she’d been so good that morning. I hauled out the tire drag and snapped its awkward weight to her collar. We’ll just return to that old lesson, using the tire’s weight to slow her down and remind her how to act. The little brat.
Then the heat and humidity arrived. Three days in a row of one hundred degrees, with dewpoints sitting at around seventy-four. Yuck.
To add to the loveliness, the water hydrant at the barn sprang a leak and flooded half the aisleway. That meant shutting off the barn’s water line, which in turn, meant me hauling buckets from the back yard. In one hundred degrees and heavy humidity, dairy goats drink a lot of water. Bucket after bucket after forty-pound bucket. It was back-breaking, sweat-drenching work.
Then it was Kasha’s turn. Kasha (short for Acacia) is my sweet little blue roan doe kid. With such a unique color, as well as a friendly, gentle temperament, she is beautiful both inside and out. And now she wasn’t feeling good.
Every year, my baby goats tend to develop a skin rash on their faces and ears. It comes from the milk that they splatter all over themselves while they drink their bottles. It’s not a big deal, and I know how to treat it. But for some reason, Kasha got it worse than I’ve ever seen before. All over her ears, the back of her head, and all around the entire length of her neck. It was even working its way down her front legs. She was sore and itchy and uncomfortable, and I was frustrated and angry and worried for her.
And then, I even got stung by a hornet. And at this point, I know I’m edging perilously close to whining … But, the sting was on my eyelid, and I don’t always handle stings very well. Over the years, I’ve been nailed by hornets and wasps enough times that my body is getting more sensitive to the venom. So, my right eye almost swelled shut, the right side of my face was puffy, I had a low-grade headache, and my eye itched and burned and teared for a good day or so afterward. And I just didn’t feel good. And if nobody else feels sorry for me, I did a pretty good job of it myself!
But the toughest and most heart-breaking trial of the week was Dundee.
Dundee, my sweet, docile, loyal, thirteen-and-a-half-year-old Australian shepherd, who, suddenly and without any preamble, decided on Wednesday afternoon that he could no longer walk. He just couldn’t use his back legs anymore. I had to carry him everywhere, position him, periodically check on him to make sure he was still comfortable.
By Saturday morning, he still hadn’t gotten up. And so, we trekked to the clinic, where he lay on the floor with his head down, unmoving, and they gave him a steroid shot, and sent him home with prednisone tablets, and told me that if that didn’t perk him up, we wouldn’t be left with many other good options.
The specter of Kola loomed large. We couldn’t be there again. Not yet, not with Dundee.
The steroid shot did perk him up, but not until it had also favored him with a case of day-long diarrhea. Which, of course, he couldn’t get up to take care of outdoors. So, he just leaked. On the carpet, on the dog beds, on the laminate flooring. I finally had to shut him in the huge, wire crate in my dog room so that he could soil the quilts in there. At least they could be washed.
By the way, we won’t go into Tassie’s bout of diarrhea, which happened two nights ago, and was so bad that I could smell it through the closed door of the dog room halfway down the hall. We won’t talk about how she had slimed her entire crate, how it got slopped on the floor, how it got crusted on her head and ears (and most of the rest of her body), or how long it took me to clean everything. And we won’t mention the smell, or stench, as I should probably call it – we won’t talk about that, either.
Enough to say that it has been quite a week. And I just wanted to share it with my readers!
There is now running water back out at the barn. Kasha’s rash is almost gone. My dad destroyed about twelve hornet nests in the goats’ area. Tassie is back to normal. And hey, my house even smells almost decent again.
And best of all, Dundee is on his feet and eating well. It took a few days, and he is still unsteady and shaky. But he’s all right. For now. The specter has retreated back into the closet.
Life goes on. Sometimes, all you have is perseverance. Just put one foot in front of the other, wipe the sweat, clean the mess. Sometimes, you just do what you gotta do. And sometimes, at least for a little while, that’s enough.
The serenity of Reyna's farm, Goldengreene; photo captured by her mother, this summer.