Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A thoroughly miserable week

I'm afraid that you will have to forgive my absence from blogging this week but it's been a truly horrendous few days. 

It all started one morning with a half-dead rabbit outside the dairy which David was called upon to dispatch.  The same lunchtime, I returned home to find a crippled (and exceedingly annoyed) weasel on my kitchen floor which I then had to send to weasel heaven ..

And then we lost our beloved GinnyPink very suddenly that same evening.  You may remember that Ginny had suffered a serious bout of pneumonia last year and, although she had recovered well, she did seem to suffer a little chestiness whenever the weather turned cold and damp.  And so it was that last week she was not quite herself. 

Our vet was booked to visit the following morning but suddenly, in the middle of evening milking, we heard a shout from the barn.  David rushed in to find our beautiful girl collapsed and struggling to breathe.  The emergency vet was with us within minutes and confirmed that there was really nothing that could be done.  And so, amidst tearful farewells, our lovely great big black girlie was put to sleep.

Bad things always happen in threes.  So I thought that was my quota for a while.  Just shows how wrong you can be ...

Mitzy cat did not return home that evening and, despite my calling her late into the night, she was nowhere to be seen.  Not entirely unusual, as she was a great hunter and often stayed out quite late.  But she would always appear on my bed sometime during the night.

When I awoke early the following morning to find that she was still not home, and that her food bowl had not been touched, I immediately got up and went out searching for her.  Hopefully the neighbours weren't up too early as I was wandering around the garden and up the road in my pyjamas, peering under bushes with my torch.

As I walked back towards the house I saw something at the side of the road and, stomach churning, rushed over to find my poor lifeless Mitzy cat who had obviously been hit by a car.  In all the years I have lived here with cats, I have never lost one so tragically.

She was only here with us for a few months but it seemed like she had been here forever.  She was a lively and funny young cat who had come through her experience of being dumped in a box with her new-born kittens.  She was beautiful and Marmite and I will miss her very much.

But it was not to end there.

Every year, there are a few goat kids who tug at your heartstrings as they are so tiny.  One such little man this year was a tiny black kid who came to be known as Ronnie (think Corbett!). 

Small but perfectly formed, Ronnie and I used to have a nice cuddle every day.  I would pick him up and tease him about how tiny he was and, in return, he would bite my ear.  It was that kind of relationship!  But, as often happens with tiny people, Ronnie became poorly and was clearly struggling to keep his spirits up.

As he needed extra attention, I brought him home with me for several nights and he slept in a big cage on my lounge floor where he was warm and cosy.  I slept next to him on the sofa so that I could keep an eye on him.  But sadly it was not to be a happy ending.

On Monday he took a turn for the worse and the vet confirmed that he also had a serious heart condition as well.  Even if he made it through this illness, he would almost certainly have further problems for the rest of his life.  And so, for the second time in a few days, I held one of my beautiful goats as it slipped away at the end of a vet's needle.

Seriously doubting that I could cope with any further tragedy this week, I went over to see all my hordes of lovely babies to try and cheer myself up.  But when I got there, I found one of the larger girls lying on her own and looking very sorry for herself.  She had been absolutely fine a few hours earlier.  I moved her into the main barn where we could better keep an eye on her, but she was dead within minutes.

Checking through all my kidding records, I discovered that her brother had died very suddenly (of unknown causes) when they were both young kids.  So, maybe that was the result of some abnormality or genetic defect.  We will never know.

Will it never end??  I know that the more animals you have, the more you lose.  But we feel the loss of every goat as keenly as when we only had a handful.  Sometimes it's just unbearable but we have to carry on.

So, please forgive me for not blogging.  But maybe now you will understand why.

Hopefully a better week lies ahead!

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