Rescue Journal

i was hoping that when grace gave birth....

Carol  ·  Jul. 30, 2012

she would do it in the middle of the night when she alone would bear the entire responsibility. i think that just by our human presence, we can unintentionally mess things up for them. i don't know if onesy and twosey did well because no one was here when they were born and gracie felt free to do what just came naturally but when threesey came..suddenly, we were present and it screwed up the natural flow for grace. or is there something wrong with threesey and so grace decided to let her slip away.

in any case. when threesey was born there was a audience and gracie rejected th babe. i made the decision to intrevene and between janice and i, we held threesey onto a nipple for about an hour so she could nurse. it made her stronger, but not stong enough..she still could not get up and move like the others.

as soon as we left her...gracie moved away and rejected her again. now threesey was strong enough to cry her protest but not strong enough to find her way back to mom. and if gracie decided not to accept her after we left..her death, because of the milk we made sure she had, was going to be prolonged.

i checked her a couple of hours later, gracie had buried threesey in a pile of hay and she had moved herself and the other babes farther away.

i did not sleep well last night...i wanted to go and get that babe, wrap her up warmly, hold her and try to feed her glucose water to get her thru the night until i could get to the vets and pick up some formula for her.
that is what rescuers do...we "save."

but there is a moral issue sometimes as well...what if they are not meant to be saved? threesey will have to survive in this life and she will need a great deal of strength...and four functioning legs. i cannot wave a magic wand for her and make anything that is wrong with her suddenly ok. if she is just weak...maybe i can help her be stronger, but if she can't stand up and walk, i can't give her new legs.

and so i left her, to cry alone in that pile of hay.

i know others would have done differently, they would have at least tried to force her to live. i don't know the right of this and so i decided to let gracie decide what was best for her little innocent babe.

i hope this was right for her, i am so sorry threesey.



I have a 2 year old cat the has no front legs, her mother ate them at birth and then pushed the kitten out of the kennel, she was found cold on the floor. Someone with good intentions revived her bottle fed her for several weeks. She gets around alright but I don't think she's happy. It takes her twice as long to get everywhere and she's afraid of everything. I'm sure having your mother eat you at birth does something to your emotional sate. Personally if I had been there I would like to think I would've let nature take it's course, but I wasn't so now I have a cat I love, even though she's an odd duck but I wonder about her quality of life.........


I witnessed threesey's birth as well. After she slipped out, Gracie moved away and showed no interest in her/him. She didn't even turn to look at threesey, she just started feeding the other two babies. I watched for a few minutes before Carol arrived, because I was afraid Gracie would roll onto threesey. I've never witnessed a pig birth before, so maybe this is normal behaviour? Maybe momma pig just waits for her new babies to move towards her and start feeding. Threesey was the "runt" of the litter and possibly didn't have the strength to survive? So terribly sad.

another Doreen

One of my friends went through something similar recently with a baby goat. The mother rejected her at birth so they intervened and tried to get mom to feed her. Then they bottle fed her and she survived but failed to thrive. Several months and several hundred dollars later for vet visits, vitamin shots and special formula baby still died unexpectedly one night. The vet could not find any reason but obviouly momma goat knew because she never accepted her.


i was one of the audience, i saw threesey be born, and the other 2 were already up and running around, for how long before threesey just kinda ...slipped out. she (or he) wasnt near as active as the other 2. gracie knew. it seems harsh and cruel, but nature has to weed out the weak. the last time i fostered a preg cat she rejected one kitten, i (with an experienced spca staff member) tried for a day to keep that baby alive. it just wasnt meant to be. horrific to witness though. we all shouldve closed the door and let gracies instincts guide her. im sorry too threesey, i certainly never wanted to contribute to your death.


Carol; no one should second guess you and the hard daily decisions you have to make, and then bear. It's very sad to READ about what happened - I can't imagine being there and having to see it and decide what was best at the time. We all know your amazingly compassionate heart, and so there is no judgement. I'm sorry for the outcome, because I, like everyone else want to see a "happy ending". Sadly, that's not always the reality. Let's focus on Onesy and Twosey now, and all the othet good things that go on daily at SAINTS.

cheryl and stef

Before we trapped our feral mom cat with her babies we watched for a day or so after they were born and she had 6 babies 5 were healthy we believe but one she kept taking and placing about 2 feet away from the rest of them. we moved baby closer to her and she would pick her up and move her away again we did that only a couple of times then baby died. So they must have a much better instinct then we do and know who will survive and who will not. It must be hard for Gracie also knowing that her baby is not well but she needs to make sure that her other little ones keep healthy ...


Okay, Sorry if I upset you ... just thought this was not mentioned. Actually, I don't know a lot about it and thought you may even have supplies on the premises for times like this and you being a nurse. I'm not judging, just had a question that had not come up in the blog but seemed to be overlooked or unspoken. I'm sure other's may have thought the same thing too.


i suppose if i was 100% sure she was going to die...i could have put her in the car, driven for 45 minutes to the emergency clinic to have a needle filled with euthanol stuck into her heart..but i chose not to do that. live or die i wanted her to be near her seemed less cruel to me.

Kate Dumaresq

So sorry little threesy :(
May your next life be happier and longer.
It breaks my heart to hear of such sadness. But, unfortunately sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we cannot overcome the suffering that comes with life. The great tragedy of trying to save either animals or people, is that some are beyond our help. Unfortunately, rescue comes with both great happiness and great sadness, and we have no choice but to accept that (although I, for one, could really do without sobbing every other day).


Hi Carol: As you know,animals have more insight than we do. Gracie knew her babe was only here for a short time and tried to make her as comfortable as possible.
How is Georgia doing? Cole is wondering. He's working on getting new cards together in time for Xmas sales.

We appreciate your amazing work. Stay strong.
Carrie and Cole

Lori Paul

I suspect the same result whether you had been there or not...sorry you had to take on the responsibility...go easy on yourself dear Carol.


So sorry to read this..I was praying last night that Gracie would accept her. As difficult as that decision was to make, I think it was the right one and I am sorry you had to make it.

Now whenever I hear the phrase " on the count of Three " I will think of Threesy and hope she knows that she was deeply cared for & no matter how short a time she was here..she mattered.


Sorry That you had to make that decision Carol. Yet another daily decision you have to make that I am sure glad that I don't have to.