Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Farewell, Sadie

Sadie in 2013 with her triplet does
The vet called today shortly before noon to say that she had consulted with a couple of reproductive specialists, and they said that if Sadie has not responded to the first two shots of prostaglandin, there is really no point in making her miserable with a third. If her cervix is not dilating, it's because of scar tissue or adhesions, and it's not going to dilate.

Sadie and her sister as kids in 2012
They did not recommend draining the uterus surgically because if it was full of pus, they would not be able to keep it from the abdominal cavity, so it would cause more problems. They did not recommend draining it through the cervix with a trochar because it would leave her with less than a five percent chance of ever carrying a pregnancy to term, and the odds are high that the uterus would simply fill with fluid again.

Sadie in 2013
They said that if her uterus continued to fill with fluid, it would eventually cause her to be unable to poop, and she was already straining to have a bowel movement. The uterus could eventually rupture, if she lived long enough. She's had a catheter in her for as long as she's been there, so that her bladder won't overfill again, but they couldn't send her home with a catheter.

In the end, our options came down to euthanasia or a hysterectomy, which would cost $1000, assuming nothing went wrong, which could drive up the price even more. Apparently doing a hysterectomy on a goat is more complicated than on dogs and cats. When I left her there on Thursday, the estimate was $700-800, and the bill is already $1100.

Sadie's udder as a 2 year old
It's been a horrible few hours, thinking about what to do. Hearing the estimate for a hysterectomy came as quite a shock. Last week, they had said it probably would be a few hundred dollars. A thousand dollars is about three times as much as what I'd been preparing myself for. I just can't justify spending $1000 to keep her alive, knowing that she would "only" be a pet afterwards. I already have four retired does, as well as an 8-year-old that has never been bred because she never grew big enough. Still, I hate the idea of essentially putting a price tag on her life. If I had all the money in the world, I would have easily said to do the hysterectomy. But I can't live my life as if I have money I don't have. And what would I do if next week another animal were to get injured or become ill? I have to try to maintain some sort of fiscal responsibility. Still, I hate it.

It makes it even worse for me that she's spent the last six days of her life alone in a strange place with strangers who've been poking her with needles and a catheter. I justified leaving her there because I thought they could make her well, and she'd be able to come home and be with her babies again. Sadie was such a shy kid, but after she freshened, she warmed up to me and the rest of the humans. I always told her that she could trust us, and as I was leaving her at the vet hospital last week, I couldn't help but think that she felt betrayed. If only I could have explained to her what was happening ...

Sadie in labor last month
So, I called the vet a little while ago and told her to euthanize Sadie. It was one of those horrible moments in life. I hated it. But I also hated that she had endured six more days of suffering because we were hoping to save her. They said the prostaglandin injections might not work, but in my head, I was thinking that they had to work. She would go into heat. Her cervix would open, and her uterus would drain. It sounded so simple. Surely, Sadie would be coming home again.

But then I think that I understand why farmers tend to be such spiritual people. Maybe it's to protect our sanity, but we have to believe that everything works out for the best. Perhaps Sadie was only with us for four years because that's what was meant to be. She's given me all that I was meant to have from her. I just realized that I have her son from last year. It sounds silly, but I kept forgetting to advertise him. Maybe there was a reason for that. This year, the person who had wanted two of Sadie's doelings wound up having to cancel after I had already marked them as sold on the website, and Sadie got sick before I had a chance to update the website stating that they were available.

One of Sadie's daughters born last month that we'll be keeping
Still, it's always hard to lose a good goat, and Sadie was great. She was very generous about giving me plenty of doe kids, starting with triplet does when she was only a year old. In four years, she gave us 14 kids, which included a remarkable 11 does! She also had outstanding parasite resistance, having never had a dewormer in her life. And until this year, she never had any birthing problems, even spitting out a couple of breech kids without help as a first freshening yearling. I'm so grateful to have three of her kids here, especially since I never had the foresight to consciously keep any of them, thinking that I had plenty of time since she was only four years old. Although we won't see her sweet face again, she left behind a great legacy in her kids. Perhaps that's the best thing that any of us -- human or goat -- can ever hope for, regardless of how many years we live.

13 comments:

Glenna said...

I am so very, very sorry. These are horrible decisions to make. It was not remotely practical for you to bring her home for her life to end because of her condition and a long and very uncomfortable trip for her, but I wish it could have been possible.
I am so glad you have her buckling from last year to carry on her great milking lines. There is often a higher power at play for forgetfulness to advertise to sell. In this case, you can still choose to keep those that would otherwise be gone to new homes.
You did *not* put a dollar value on her life - quite the contrary. You have done all you could for her for her condition and have done far more than many others would have done.
She had four wonderful years surrounded with love and caring and was able to raise some fine families. As she slips into the next life, she will have the warmth of all that with her - I totally believe that.
Please know you have super hugs from the Pacific Northwest!!!

Linda said...

Sorry for your loss, Deborah. You take such good care of the animals in your keeping. You made a tough decision, but you put a lot of thought and consideration into it. I appreciate reading about the difficult times, as well as the good times on your blog.

Emily Cole said...

Aw man, sending super hugs from North Carolina , too! So sorry!

Emily Cole said...

Aw man, sending super hugs from North Carolina , too! So sorry!

Michelle said...

Such a horrible position to be in; not a one of us could handle it any easier. I'm glad you have some offspring from her. RIP, Sadie; we're all so sorry.

Juila in Asheville said...

So sorry, Deborah. I can only imagine how hard this decision was for you. {{{hugs}}}

Zan Asha said...

This is so beautifully, heartbreakingly written. My heart wrenches for you. Farmers are some of our best unsung heroes; so many days are full of these decisions. I am so sorry.

Lindsay Scott said...

Such a difficult decision to have to make, my heart goes out to you!

Jean said...

So sorry you couldn't bring Sadie home to her kids and the farm family. RIP Sadie. You will be missed. {{{{{HUGS}}}}} to you Deborah.

Jessica said...

Such a bad situation to deal with. I'm so sorry.

MichelleH said...

So sorry! :(

Leigh said...

What a heartbreak. I would have struggled the same as you, hoped the same as you, and in the end made the same decision as you.

Fiona said...

I have to say these are the decisions that make us hurt inside...in our hearts. I will also say that the way you feel when you make these decisions is what makes you treat your animals humanely and kindly. Something we should all feel. Something Industrial Agriculture has lost.
God bless you and your farm and you made the right decision on all levels!

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