Posted in Raised by a village

Scooby to the Vet

I had not planned to be sitting in the vet’s office first thing Monday morning. My schedule included a conference call,  process documentation, commuting and normal farm stuff in the afternoon. It was the 2nd night of a restless fluffy white dog who yelped in pain when being picked up, and a lack of appetite that drove me to change plans. I couldn’t call to inquire about an opening because of laryngitis; one more thing not on my calendar. 

Having lost our 14 year old cairn terrier last year to kidney failure, my mind raced with every imaginable what-if scenario for Scooby. We’re uncertain of his age because he appeared on our doorstep 7 years ago matted, tired and wearing a wire collar.  Yes, a collar made of wire. We think that he may have been a backyard breeder dog, or he lived with someone who had no appreciation for this bundle of fur. At his first checkup,  the vet estimated Scooby to be around 6 years old. So, his official record has him at 13 years old.

I’m thankful for every time that this little fluffball is there to greet me at the door. He is just as happy to see me after 8 hours as he is after 8 minutes. Scooby exemplifies unconditional love. He doesn’t care what you say to him, he just wants to be close to us humans. During thunderstorms,  he prefers to lay on my chest or on top of Jim’s head. He barks at strangers, birds, deer, coyotes, possums, and things that go bump in the night. He doesn’t love us because of how good we are to him, he loves us because it’s his nature.

A dog’s love is the visualization of how God loves us as well. And it’s the fear of the loss of that outward love that can bring us to tears. There’s scientific evidence that petting a dog can raise serotonin levels and thus improve mood in humans.  It’s a symbiotic relationship. 

If it was just the dog, then maybe I wouldn’t have been crying enroute to the vet’s office. But how often is it that just one thing goes awry in our daily plans? This was that unplanned, unexpected thing of uncertainty that made me leak tears like a crack in a vase. It was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. My sister-in-law reminded me that when we turn things over to God, we know that He has things on His schedule, not ours, but that sometimes, she prays to let this next thing be easy. 

The vet worked us in to her first appointment and examined my now seemingly improved furball. 

Two x-rays later revealed air pockets in his caecum  (the first part of the large intestine that looks like a reverse comma) which is very painful. Along with arthritis and muscle atrophy from an old dislocation accident, Scooby has early signs of hip dysplasia. So he gets gas-ex and aspirin. In other words, he’s getting old and gassy. Just like the rest of us.

To the vets and technicians who take care of our animals at Crossroads Animal Hospital and Henry River Mobile Veterinary Services,  thank you. 

Posted in farmlife, goatlife

We Called the Vet 

After four nights of 3 am bottle feeding baby goat Bert, we did all that we could, and then we called the vet at 6:45 am. I expected to leave a message, but surprisingly, my call was answered by our mobile vet and I explained that Bert had an elevated temperature,  faster than normal breathing, and weakness in standing.At 4 days old, he’s behind the curve because he did not get colostrum within the first 24 hours of his life. That first mother’s milk provides mammals with immunities to fight off infections for the first critical weeks. Without that nourishment and fluid, he’s fighting exponentially harder than his twin brother.

It’s been a roller-coaster with 3 am feedings and supplements. I’ve rationalized our decisions to this point and have been my biggest critic. Did we wait too long, should I have done something else, I am hardest on myself. 

I wrote down everything that we’d given Bert, a brief timeline of events. Jim took Bert to the vet’s place and I headed to work. Steeling myself for the worst, and knowing that going 23 hours without food is a poor prognosis, I hoped and prayed that he would either be ok or free of pain. 

About an hour later, Jim called to say that Bert was in better shape than the vet expected. He still refused a bottle, so she taught Jim how to tube feed him. The vet gave Bert an antibiotic shot, some additional anti-inflammatory medicine and said that he has and touch of pneumonia, but we did everything right. He may be a little more susceptible to infections, and he may be small, but his prognosis is good. I have to give him another shot in a few days, and to call the vet with any questions.  

At lunch, I called to check on Bert and Jim said that he perked up at the he sound of the other goats and when he heard his mother screaming for him, he actually tottered to her and she stood for a few minutes to let him nurse. Wonders never cease. I arrived home after work to find Bert napping in the hay, snuggled to his brother Ernie. When Julie Andrews spotted me, they stood up and started nursing again.  He’s still a little wobbly than the others, so we brought him inside to sleep in a laundry basket for another night while his lungs clear. He won’t take a bottle, so we tube fed him again late tonight and he’s sleeping in the laundry basket. He’s making huge strides and his eyes are clear, his coat is soft and his breathing has normalized. 

So in terms of John Wesley’s teachings, we did all we could and then we reached out for help. Our mobile vet is a blessing, an asset to the community and we consider her an extension of the family. Buy that’s a story for another day.