Sunday, July 09, 2006

And the Goat Drama Continues...

The last 36 hours have been a roller coaster. Marty and I gave Claudette her second injection yesterday morning. She seemed so terrified of us (she would literally lose control of her bowels and/or bladder whenever we approached) that we made the joint decision to give her some space. Which meant no Saturday night injection. We thought we'd let her heal on her own.

This morning I went out there and saw Claudette laying in the grass. She wasn't moving or making noise. I naturally assumed she was dead. I probably should have gotten a little closer to double check - but given all of her health issues, I just naturally assumed....(lesson 1: don't naturally assume anything...)

I was of course devastated and came back to the house sobbing. I spent much of the morning in a funk. (Oh yeah - and I posted an in memoriam message on this site)

Not exactly wanting to deal with the situation, we waited a few hours. But in the early afternoon, Marty and I drove out into the pasture to dig a hole to bury Claudette. But the ground was too hard. So Marty went to Lowe's to buy a pick axe and a better shovel.

On the way he picked up our friend Richie to help.

We all went back out into the pasture where Marty and Richie dug a grave. Then they drove over to the barn to pick-up Claudette.

As I am wandering around looking for dandelions and buttercups to pick to lay on the grave, Marty starts hollering at me across the pasture. She's not dead. She's collapsed in a heap and bleating - but she's alive.

Of course I feel like an idiot for having assumed she was dead (and having already eulogized her). And while I am glad she's alive, I am also freaking out that she is in pain and suffering.

So I jump into action mode calling the emergency number for the vet. I have the doctor paged and we wait impatiently for him to call back.

Marty and Richie debate just bringing Claudette to the grave and putting her out of her misery, but in the end, we wait for Dr. Gochnauer to call back (Thank God).

My story when the doctor calls is that we have a dying goat in pain and suffering and he needs to come put her down. He's based out of Cornelius so it's a full hour before he'll get here.

It's a long hour spent pacing and worrying. I worry even more when I see Elvis and Ann-Margaret head out to the pasture to graze. They've been by Claudette's side all day - protecting her, loving her, nurturing here - I don't know. But when they leave her, I know it's because they are either hungry or she is now really dead.

Dr. Gochnauer arrives at about 4:30. I walk him out to the pasture and point to the grey heap barely visible in the tall grass. He nimbly scoops her up and places her in the bed of our pick-up (which Marty had left out). She is bleating and I am wincing in pain (there is nothing more pitiful than hearing a sick goat bleat). Dr. G tells me that I don't have to panic every time she makes noise. He examines her and then carries her out to his truck which is a mini vet practice on wheels.

The big problem now is that Claudette has no strength - she literally cannot pick or hold herself up and that's why she's been laying in a heap. The root of the problem is probably the 10 or so ticks clinging to her body and posioning her.

Dr. G picks the ticks off, gives her a round of shots and some sugar water which seems to help. I can tell because her little tail is wagging.

The good news is the thiamin shots seem to have staved off the goat polio and her gums have some color which means the de-wormer is working.

The worst part of this all (other than that I thought my goat was dead and we had dug a grave) was that I felt so inadequate as a goat parent.

I explained to Dr. G that I was from NYC and we had got these goats not realizing how much work was involved. So we got a little Goatanomics 101. And Dr. G was sweet - although I think he was frightened when he asked if we planned to raise goats and Marty said yes. It's sort of like when a crack whore says she plans on having more babies. You worry.

Anyways, he took Claudette back to the hospital to recover - and while being caged up is less ideal than leaving her in her natural habitat - Marty and I are simply not yet ready to tend to sick goats. Not yet. But we did fill in the hole - because I am not ready for any more dead goats either.

Claudette is by no means out of the woods, but she's way better off than she was and I pray that being in a safe, clean, nurturing environment allows her to heal and regain her strength.

Meanwhile, there's a whole host of things we need to do a buy in order to properly keep and raise goats (top of the list? buy a feed trough they can't poop in). I am sure the trip to the feed store will be a post worthy in its own right.

As I wrap this long post up, I am thankful tonight that Claudette is still part of the family and for the patience and kindness of the doctors and staff at Large Animal Practice in Cornelius, NC (Dr. G gave me a hug as he drove off - I guess signifying that even though he knows I know nothing about goats, he knows I am trying).

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...