August 09, 2013

#R.I.P. Queen and The Old Brown Goat

One has to occasionally ponder if an animal lover, who preaches about the treatment of animals, really knows what it means to care for an animal.  Most animal lovers cry over cats and dogs, yet, not many give into consideration of all the other animals and what is put into the care and love one one, especially livestock.  Anyone can become attached to their domesticated cat and/or dog but if they ever had to care for the needs of livestock they may learn a new appreciation.

First off, let me start at the beginning with the story of The Girl Dog.  We never named the girl dog because she is mostly feral, born on the land before either Barry or I was here, she just came with the territory.  Others had tried to get rid of her but since the girl dog is so good at surviving, it has been impossible.  The Girl Dog has had many litter of puppies, the lucky ones were adopted, the unlucky pups, those that nobody could find where The Girl Dog hid them, had to eventually be put down since they became violent and killed livestock.

Last fall The Girl Dog had five pups, one very small one disappeared, probably did not survive, two others, while they were still young, were adopted but the last two that nobody could get near enough had to be shot after killing a pig.  The Girl Dog was shot as well at that time, although the bullet just skimmed her and she survived.  Sometimes because of this we will call her The Ghost Dog, it is not the first time she has bee shot at.  Barry wanted to keep her around since The Girl dog was so good at keeping the coyotes away, this time though she has to be put down.

This past spring The Girl Dog had, what we thought, was three puppies.  At four weeks out we found a home for two of them but before we could get a hold of the third pup, The girl dog hid her.  After not seeing or hearing a sign of the third pup, we assumed that it died in the woods, maybe the pup had gotten snake bit or attacked by a coyote, that is until over the weekend.

Now, let me talk about Buddy, our Great Dane who was by my side at all times from the day we adopted him a few months ago.  Every morning when I went out to do my chores, Buddy was waiting on the porch for me, after playing with Buddy's ears, sing some goofy songs to him while tying my shoes.  Buddy  would then proceed to follow me down to the chicken house and wait while I finished my chores.  Taking Buddy for granted, like the famous phrase goes "all things happen for a reason."  When I was feeling sad Buddy would bound up to me and dance around to try to make me feel better, thinking about that now is one of the reasons I miss him so much now.

About two weeks ago, Barry and I were arguing as to whether it was safe for me to rid the four wheeler or not that was given to us for use of our chores on the farm.  After winning the argument, about an hour later Barry walked in to tell me he had some bad news, the first thought that popped into my head was that the Sheriff said I could not drive the four wheeler, but what Barry actually said was, "Buddy is dead."  Such a shock, just five minutes ago he was on the porch barking at the neighbor, the way he did every night when the neighbor came to feed his cows.  The neighbor had actually, said it was an accident, ran over Buddy when pulling in and Buddy died instantly.   We think the guy did it on purpose because of his dislike for dogs, God forbid that one of our dogs annoys him while protecting us, whenever the neighbor pulls in at night.  Animals have a sense of people, so what did the neighbor really expect...a big sloppy kiss?

R.I.P. The Old Brown Goat
The reason for that brief bit on Buddy was what happened this past week and another reason why we took Buddy for granted.  Sunday morning when I arrived down at the chicken house to bottle feed the baby goats, Barry said, "I have some bad news."  Again, inside my head came a completely different picture.  One of our goats, Queen, was due to kid.  Being older we knew the risks of complications, not long ago one of the goats, Philadelphia, that Barry had for as long as Queen died right after giving birth.  Going into the chicken house and looking for Queen, that is when I noticed the Old Brown Goat laying dead with a big chunk taken out of her backside.  The Old Brown Goat was the oldest of all the other goats, thirteen and still kidding.  Had beautiful babies and such a sweet thing.  I asked Barry what happened, he said when he pulled up to the chicken house there were three dogs sitting outside, one looked just like The Girl Dog's puppy that went missing about two months ago.  Barry said they also attacked another goat, W3, left marks on her ears and face.

Maybe it was because The Old Brown goat was so old, also, it could have been because I did not see the incident and by the time Barry and I had arrived to the chicken house, The Old Brown Goat was already deceased, it made my heart ache watching her daughter say her goodbyes as we loaded the Old Brown Goat into the back of the truck to dispose of her body.  The Old Brown Goat's daughter did not cry for her for a feeding like the time The Old Brown Goat wandered off for a night.  Maybe The Old Brown Goat's daughter she knew her mother was not far off that time but this time she knew since she did see her mother killed.
R.I.P. Queen

It's strange how the thought of Queen that Sunday came into my head because of the next real heartbreak.  Barry and I were trying to figure out how we could get rid of the wild dogs, especially since earlier that morning running outside after hearing a commotion coming from Peggy Sue, our little squirrel dog only to discover, not three but four four month old puppies trying to get to the chickens inside the chicken coop outside our house.  This meant that the girl dog did not have just three pups in the last litter, she actually had SIX!  The four that were left were feral and very dangerous.  Deciding that mixing rat poison in with some food, later that evening, after dinner, I locked Gus, our boxer as well as the father to the pups, and Peggy Sue in the dog pen, Peggy Sue got out since she is so small so deciding it would be best to lock her up in one of the other rooms elsewhere.

Less than an hour later, a thunderstorm came in and The Neighbor called to tell Barry that those dogs were in the chicken house with the goats.  Barry ran down there and as he was pulling out I heard three gunshots.  Knowing that there were four pups, the three gunshots meant that not all of the pups had been shot.  Being correct, only two of the puppies had gotten shot while drinking water from the surge bucket.  Right after the neighbor got the puppies off of a goat, the puppies were thirsty from their activity and went to drink some water, that is when the neighbor was able to shoot two, the other two took off.


Barry came back to tell me that the puppies attacked Queen, that she was bleeding from the throat and wanted to know if there any way that I could stop it.  Telling Barry that it might be too late, I grabbed some cloth, thread and needle.  When we got down to the chicken house, Queen was laying on the ground making a kind of gurgling scream, the blood was going into her throat, the puppies had bitten through her jugular vein, Queen was slowly suffocating and bleeding to death.  It did not look like her, those seven stages of grief went through me so quickly:

- Shock or Disbelief - This is not happening to Queen, she is a fighter, it doesn't even look like her
- Denial - Maybe she will make it
- Anger -  I wanted to run into the woods, find those other two pups and hurt them right at that moment
- Bargaining - Please God, don't let it be as bad as it looks
- Guilt -  When the rain started we should have just sat and watched to see if those puppies would come back
- Depression - We cried
- Acceptance and Hope - Maybe she will make it if I just put this cloth around her neck to stop the bleeding, Queen may have to breath through a hole in her throat but she will be okay.

There was nothing we could do but sit by her, hug her and say our goodbyes.

Goats are, in a way, are very much like a faithful cat or dog, only difference, they are not violent towards people, each other, but generally not people.  As we sat there Queen kept screaming and putting her head against my chest than in my lap.  I wanted to stay with her until the end but Barry couldn't stand to watch, said we had to let her just go on her own, he did not have the heart to cut her throat even though I begged him to let her stop suffering.  At one point I thought maybe if I put pressure where the dogs cut her jugular vein, it would stop the bleeding, it only made Queen unable to breath even more so.  Those puppies had also injured another goat that night, we haven't named her, leaving a large gash on the side of her face and shredding her ear.  This goat is going to have a scar on her face and a shredded looking ear for the rest of her life.

Afterwards, using an entire can of cat food, some chicken bones and rat poison was mixed together, we than locked up Peggy Sue and Gus and left the mixture at the edge of the woods.  There is a twinge of guilt at how the puppies had to be killed but what else is there to do.  In this area there is no animal control, even if there was they are not going to sit in the woods, risk getting attacked by a coyote or some other wild animal to try and trap a couple of wild dogs that will be put to sleep, anyways, animal control would have probably told us to take care of it ourselves.  Even though there is love for the domesticated dogs, even when Gus is helping with getting a pig back in a pen he can also be violent.  Just yesterday while chasing a pig out of where the goats are, Gus grabbed it's ear and did not let go until he bit it off.  Always wondering what he did with a pigs tail or ear whenever Gus bit it off, I than saw him proceed to eat it.  For the rest of the day there was a bit of disgust towards Gus.
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