Yesterday was rough. Today is much better. Annabelle is resting peacefully, finally.
After her second miracle on Friday, Saturday was a relatively good day, except for Luit and Noni leaving for Dallas. I ran around trying to find her something she would eat, but she would not, and she did graze in the meadow a bit and get up and down. I never saw her chew her cud. Luit gave her the vitamin energy drench and she really seemed better, but weak.
Saturday evening they all rested in the shed and she was fine. A few more checkings and all was well. At 5 am yesterday they were all laying down with everyone chewing their cud, except Annabelle, but she looked fine. I enjoyed my coffee and cream and had a great time reading about my friend Jen’s New Book, for chicken lovers, and it kept me laughing all day.
At 7 am those lazies were still laying down and Annabelle seemed a bit slumped over so I got everyone up. She got up halfway and fell on her other side flat. Try as I might I could not get her head up or onto her haunches. Bill and Kelli said it was probably ketosis because she had not eaten enough, and a cow’s system is a delicate machine that needs to keep primed. Dextrose is what is given for that and I did have a bottle, but could I find her jugular vein. I called a neighbor to see if he could come help get her pushed up on her haunches and when they got there and she heard men’s voices she pulled herself up! I miraculously found her vein (thank you Allan), though it was very weak, and the entire bottle went in slowly. Steve drenched her with water and the molasses vitamin boost. I tried to make her eat and drink, but she wouldn’t, but needed time for the dextrose to kick in.
She weakened and I called my neighbor again to help me turn her and maybe try and get her to stand. I drenched her again. She was throwing her head and legs back very hard against me and just wanted to lay flat. We turned her and he said he would come back later to check on me. I held her up as long as I could.
Then I realized it would be best to just let her lay down. No vets could come, and I don’t think there was anything they could do anyway. The last time she had bloat, $500 later and no bloat treatment, the vet said she probably had cancer. Hmmm.
She was breathing so deeply, steadily and peacefully that I thought it best for her to think all her thoughts of calves, grass, lovely meadows and whatever thoughts drift through your mind at the end. I thought to myself that I don’t want someone to drug me up or shoot me, just let me die in my own thoughts (unless I am a vegetable, then shoot away! or throw me off a cliff.)
I lay with her for a long time.
and closed her eye from time to time so the flies would not bother it or dry out.
The sky and clouds were so lovely from the floor of the shed.
The magical barn swallows kept diving all around us, and the bad crows which steal the eggs.
Baby Christopher kept coming to check on his Mommy, and he nursed her throughout the day. I tried to give him a bottle to no avail.
The sun was turning and on her, so I got a bedsheet to make a tent over her and keep her cool.
Lots of friends came often for a visit.
The cows never stayed long out grazing, but stayed mostly in the shed with us.
As time wore on her breathing became more labored. Thoughts of what I would do crossed my mind, but I could not bring myself to end her life. I must say that I also kept thinking of the Monte Python skit “Bring Out Your Dead.” Sometimes laughing is the best thing. I kept thinking each breath would be her last, but she would not go.
But I knew she was not going to get better. It was getting late and everyone did not know what to do.
My neighbor never came back to check on me and reluctantly I called my hero Chris who saved Annabelle a few days ago. He mercifully came right away, shot her and then got the excavator to get her out of the shed, up the hill and sweetly buried her. He is an expert on that machine I can tell you. He was so very sweet to me.
She is resting peacefully next to Gert, Barlow and Glory. (Chris, words cannot excess how grateful I am.)
Baby Christopher misses his mommy, as we all do. She was greatly loved by all.
As of today, I could not find the baby this morning. He was sleeping in the tall grass. I got him up and brought him to Becca to see what would happen. As love would have it, she let him nurse. Annabelle was her nurse when her mama Gert died, but Annabelle would invariably poop on baby Becca’s head every time.
All day they have been despondent, missing their friend, but she sweetly let him nurse again this afternoon. I hope she has enough milk for both of them, but for now, all is well. I will give her alfalfa and Chaffehay to help boost her production and of course will no longer milk her. We will probably try and get a nurse cow when we can.
I am sorry for the heartbreak of this story and photos. Death is a very, very hard thing, and though I have experienced a lot of death, it does also strengthen you. People death is harder for sure. It really is something to be embraced, as is grief. Grief brings a deeper joy as to the wonder of each breath, each moment of glorious life, certainly something to be shared and celebrated. I’m happy to be alive, and in this place, with these friends and in this time. Lucky indeed.