I’m not naive enough to think that there will never be a death on the farm. Death is part of the circle of life (as we all hear Elton John singing now…sorry about that). I’m also a sucker for happy endings and my empathy meter is seriously off the charts. I cried during the movie Battle: Los Angeles (http://youtu.be/Yt7ofokzn04), it’s not The Notebook…there should have been no crying. I cry while reading (and finishing) books, when something sad or horrible is shown on the news, I’ve even been known to shed a tear while listening to certain love songs.
You get it. I am a cry baby. One of the saddest things in life I know, is a tiny life taken before they have a chance to live-even on the farm. I understand natural selection, survival of the fittest, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
If you are one of our faithful followers, you know last weekend we brought three little pigs to live at our farm. They were bringing fresh blood lines to area for breeding the Hereford line. They were all doing well until Friday morning, I noticed one looked weak and was dragging her back legs. I told the hubby and left to take our daughter to school. I got a call from him to bring home a baby bottle and Vitamin D milk for her. He had brought her inside, when I picked her up, she was cold. Her little head just rolled and I had to work hard to contain the waterworks.
We had a super cold winter, at one point, the kids and I were warming rice in a tube sock to put under our blankets to warm our beds. I heated one up, put it in the blanket and swaddled little Fat Patricia (the girls were named after a character from the movie Pitch Perfect). I was able to get some warm milk into her belly, as she awkwardly tried to suckle, and I squeezing the bottle to get it down her throat, and within an hour, she was warm and comfortable. I think I held her for about three hours (yes, I was even rocking her at one point before I caught myself). We had to go to town and she was sleeping well so I put her in the kennel still wrapped warmly. That night, I was able to spoon feed her some oatmeal. She wanted it, but didn’t seem to get much down (at least, there was a good bit on the floor). I gave her sugar water as well. My new kitten Phoebe was a bit jealous of all the attention, so she climbed up on my other arm. I laughed and told the hubby I felt like James Herriot. Once she was comfortably asleep, I put her to bed in front of the fire.
When we woke the next morning, she was quiet and still. I prepared a bottle for her, warmed the rice sock and sat in front of the fireplace holding her in freshly washed and warm blankets. She never opened her eyes, just sighed a lot. The same sound you hear in the ICU or CCU of a hospital when someone is at deaths door. I talked to her, rubbed her belly, squirted sugar water down her throat to try getting her some energy, but I knew the end was near. I held her up close to my heart and waited until she drew her last breath. The hubby was getting ready to leave so I asked where he wanted me to bury her. He was such a sweetheart. He went out and dug the hole for me. Fortunately, he was still there when she passed on so he took her out with me and we buried her.
Fat Patricia is not the first death we have had at Beautiful Nazareth Farms. The amazing dog the hubby brought home back in February was shot less than a week after he left to go back to California, and died on our living room floor, in front of the fire with our youngest daughter laying next to her. Lilly’s death was tragic. Unnecessary. Heartless.
Was Fat Patricia’s death necessary? Maybe. She might not have been able to be bred, or had some sort of health issue that would have cost us down the road. But I wouldn’t say it wasn’t heartbreaking. Obviously.
Death is a part of life. I’m a big girl, I know this. I value life whether human or animal, but that doesn’t mean I don’t eat meat or animal products. I am thankful we have the animals to provide for our needs. I told the hubby I would be a terrible farmer if I couldn’t handle an animal dying without crying (whether it’s a natural death, or time for slaughter), and he was so great. He told me “Just be you”. He didn’t laugh at me or scoff that I cried over a little piglet. Just held me tight.
RIP Fat Patricia