i told jean i didn't want to talk about this, but maybe i do.
Alison · Dec. 5, 2006
baby jack and spritely are killing me.
i finally got baby jack to eat tonight and managed to get him up on his feet after 24 hours down. he had a couple of turns around inside the barn and then we put him to bed again. i cannot get my head around the fact that we may very well lose this absolutely, incredibly beautiful, young and healthy animal because we can't fix the weakness in his hind end. if he was a dog, we could do surgeries or hip replacements or who knows what other possible treatments to maintain his quality of life. farm vet medicine has not progressed to this point for sheep. they are farm products worth less then one hundred dollars on the hoof and these types of diagnostics, treaments and surgeries just aren't done. so what, are we going to lose him simply because sheep have no value? he has enormous value to me.
and spritely, just writing her name and the tears start flowing. she is worse today. she is in so much pain and she won't eat. i spoke with the vet and he will come again first thing tomorrow morning. he gave me "the talk" about not being able to fix this, and the increasingly frequency of her suffering. and so what again, am i to stand at her head and tell her i love her and then watch this beautifully lovely, and healthy in every other way animal, fall down dead at my feet? do i have to be compassionate to end a life that is so very, very special. i don't want to be kind to her. i just want her to stop hurting and why the hell can't a horse live with only three legs like a dog?
and why oh why did i ever start doing farm animals, i have to kill them for things that i would never have to end the life of a dog or a cat for. i help dying animals pass in peace, i don't kill healthy animals because they are in unredeemable suffering. we redeem the suffering of the smaller healthy animals, why can't we do it for the big guys too? i don't want to rescue farm animals anymore.
I'm glad you decided to post about this for all of us to think about. Sometimes it is easier to write than to speak, and sometimes reading the words helps one to reflect more deeply.
When the day comes that one of the barnyard animals must be helped to pass it will be hard for all of us, but most of all for you. We (and especially, you) have a process, a ritual, for helping our in-home animals to pass and rituals are comforting. For our dogs, we have a pizza party, and the vet comes and the dog lies on a blanket being loved and cuddled and getting that highly valued one-on-one time they so love. And when they have passed, you gently wrap them in a blanket and lovingly carry them to the car. Even when circumstances dictate that the process be changed, when an animal is rushed to the vet, so much of the passing is familiar.
With the barnyard animals, it will be different. While we can still feed them treats and calm them and talk with them and stroke them in their final moments, the process after that forces us to let them be removed with what might seem to be a little less respect, a little less dignity, than we would otherwise wish. And that will be hard to take because respect and dignity are core values at SAINTS.
When we partner anxiety about the process of passing with frustration over the limited opportunities to alleviate pain and address health issues in barnyard animals, it is no wonder you wish you'd never started this journey of taking in the big guys. But you'll get through this, too, because, as a very wise person told Janice just a few posts ago "the sad reality of this is , you donâ€™t have a choice ...none of us do. we get knocked down, and we climb to our knees, and we stagger to our feet, and we just keep goingâ€¦that is the word of honour we gave when we took them inâ€¦i have seen you do it time and time again, and i will see you do it more times to come. have faith"
So have faith, Carol. No matter what the outcome for Baby Jack and for Spritely, they are loved now, they have had a far better life and a far longer life than they would have had if you had not taken them in, and you have always done (and will continue to do) the very best you can for them. That was the word of honour you gave them when you took them in, and you keep your word. And you will continue to do your very best for all the Baby Jacks and Spritelys that will continue to come to SAINTS. Because they will come, and you will accept them, and then you don't have a choice.
And didn't we, just this evening, have a conversation about a certain COW that needs a safe place to land???? So what's with the "no more barnyard animals", huh? LOL Of course, if you didn't have barnyard animals we could convert the barn into a little cottage for me.....I always have loved it out there [runs away and ducks for cover :) :) ]