Sunday, July 3, 2011

"This Place is Death"

We have had yet another loss at Dùn Sgàthan, on June 30 Randvér, our wether goat, bloated. We do not know what caused it, although it's apparenlty more common in wether's than in does or bucks, so supposedly it could be anything. Goats are an animal that seem impervious to food issues, but seems when they get them that is it. We tried desperately to save him, but he died in our arms a few hours after we realized that he was sick.

It's never easy when a pet dies, that he was so young and that this was so unexpected makes it so much worse. That it comes after so many other deaths just makes it another cut where there is already so many unhealed wounds.

The goats, really, came into our lives when we needed new life. That was only a year and a half ago. They brought us much joy. They gave the Mini Horses, Iceman and Cimmeron, much needed fresh companionship after they lost their person and two of their herdmates. They gave Saorsa real companionship as they were spry enough to safely go in and out of her pasture, while we are worried about letting her and the Minis be closed in together (they can see each other, at least most of the year, eventually the snow ends up keeping Saorsa from traveling over there...but it never stopped the goats).

Randvér was a proper trickster goat, always pushing for what ever he wanted. Chasing the dogs, chasing the horses, often bullying Elína for food. He'd often glue himself to what ever person was handy, wanting attention. This, of course, was the first and, I'm afraid, ignored for some time, sign that something was wrong. We didn't see much of Randvér that morning, he wasn't being a pest. We should have known. I was busy with my horse trainer and Saorsa, Aaron was busy catching up the bills at the last minute. We just weren't worried.

If we'd started treating him earlier would it have saved him? We just will never know. It all was so sudden, it all happened so fast.

Over a week before this happened I saw a Turkey Vulture on a utility post; something I've never seen before. I've seen plenty of vultures, but only flying or roosting at a distance and always in numbers, never just one so close just sitting there. It was wonderous and disturbing. It may well have nothing to do with all of this. Or it might. But it keeps coming to mind right now.

Randvér was only two, he should have been with us far longer. He is, however, out of pain. Apparently, once this happened, it would always linger, always be likely to happen again. But I still wish he had had the chance to have more time.

I try to remember that I am a spiritual person, that I do believe he is in another world, happy and frolicking. That there is probably good food, that over there won't kill him. Maybe he's with the Red Rooster even, who he had seemed to like.

I worry about Elína, who no longer has her lifelong companion. They were not siblings, but were born around the same time. There were times it seemed she ignored him, what with him being pesty all the time. She liked to "hide" from him, by standing somewhere behind him while he bleated his little heart out for her. She lied next to him when he got really bad and wouldn't get up anymore. After he died we let her check out his body, so she'd know. She sniffed, walked out of the stall, bleated a couple of times as if to confirm he wasn't going to answer, then asked to go outside. At the time the Minis were asking to come inside, so we let them check out the body. He was their companion too. Gleann and Sachairi also got to sniff the body. Gleann had been distressed and crying during the whole thing, had spent some time with us taking care of Randvér; he worries about his charges. He'll also miss him, as Randy play chased with him more.
Elína and the Minis have each other, Elína also has Saorsa. While we buried Randvér, Elína and Saorsa ate nearby while Iceman and Cimmeron hovered on the other side of us in their paddock. But she doesn't have anyone to do goat specific stuff with. Like play butt-heads. Or wander where ever. Or hang out and chew cuds while looking totally stoned. Or rubbing against anything that can conveniently be knocked down and trashed together.

I really hurt for Elína.

We might get another, I don't know. I'm not sure that he can be "replaced" for Elína any more than he can be for us. They were together all their lives, after all. A new goat would just be a new goat, she might not even like him. So I don't know.

Of course, we've also discussed the fact that we could breed her. Just once. We are not goat farming because they are just too personable, too pet like, for us to raise any for meat. To raise for milk requires, eventually, raising for meat. There are just so many pet homes or petting zoo situations (and the latter are not always good places, anyway) for excess male goats, after all. But once, and we'd keep the kids. Of which there will undoubtedly be two (goat's almost always have twins). But this may be crazy thinking. We have more than a month to talk ourselves out of it.

My hope had been that the post I was going to do next was going to be picture spam of my horse having a post-training session bath. I will post that sometime soon. In other, hopeful, news, we do have two hens brooding. We were going to candle the eggs this weekend, but haven't yet. Hopefully that will indicate some life. We need new life here.