Good Afternoon from Gullringstorp!
This is a post I posted on FaceBook. It has become evident to me that you, my blog followers also need to understand my absence also and be brought up to date.
I am coming to you, my, FaceBook family to explain my absence. Please, as you read this, I feel some of you may judge me. I understand, but remember until you have walked in my shoes, you may never know what you might have done. I have had to make peace with my decision and hope you will be respectful. I thank everyone for all the kind words and thoughts sent my way during these terrible times. Please, I ask for no negative disapproving comments. Please.
We had been experiencing an unusual amount of deaths in our herd, all due to pneumonia. After months of illnesses and deaths, I went to my records. After all that time not knowing what was causing this, I saw a common thread. Emil our rent-a-buck from the very beginning had to have been infected. Because, all his off spring and their babies were dying. We had generations in our stable. After the last death, Mati’s mom, our vet decided that we must have our herd tested for CAE. We did. 16 blood samples were taken. Then the dreaded waiting.
Prior to leaving for London to see Rachel’s play, we had a preliminary report from the vet. It said our herd was 95% infected with CAE. We thought surely that was a mistake. We asked for a rerun of the test. We waited and waited . I had been back just a few days and off to but some new panties. I’d forgot to while in London. As we pulled into a parking spot we got the call. This was from a division of the Dept of Argriculture, not our vet.
Our entire herd except one was infected. Although ma y were not related to Emil’s off spring, over the years, it had spread to everyone through mucus exchange and milk of the mother. We had no idea. I remember thinking there must be something wrong in our setup in our stable. It was checked by our vet several times and no problem there. Mati was the only negative result. I was urged to euthanize and start all over with a new herd in 6 mos.
This was the worst sensation imaginable. I hit my books, the Internet and even reached out privately to a goat mom on FB.
I tried to understand how logistically I could maintain two separate herds, a positive and negative herd. We have the space inside and out and it could be done, on paper. The thought of euthanasia was dreadful but, honestly, after having watched half my herd already die of this CAE which in my herd presented itself in a fatal form of pneumonia, I had my doubts. I tried not to bring this to Rachel because she was enjoying her play, but she knew something was amiss. She’s been great help in my decision making,
I had two choices, to wait and and watch each of my goats get sick and either die or have to be put down, or euthanize the herd. 16 time bombs.
After dealing with this and looking at it from every angle rationally then emotionally then back to rationally. I made my decision. Leif agreed as did Rachel.
The decision was made to have them all euthanized together, by our caring gentle vet.
It happened Tuesday, April 19.
Mati was removed to one of our garages until it’s safe for him to return to the stable block.
Leif told me to stay in the house while this was done and I told him absolutely not. I intended to speak to each of my goats and make my apologies to each one and tell them how much they were loved.
It was done in the most humane way possible. Each was given a sedative injection and soon fell asleep. Walking up and down the corridor to check that they were asleep was surreal. They all looked so peaceful and for moments I forgot what was to come next.
We returned to the first box and the last injection was given. I held each little head and spoke softly into their ears with tears landing on their fur. I addressed them by name and discussed who they were in our herd. I told them they were going to heaven before me and who they would see and to behave themselves. I said I would come later. I wished each one a safe journey over the Rainbow Bridge. I watched and after each injection, my kind gentle vet stroked each goat with care.
I had in my jacket pocket my phone and it was set to play softly a Sami joik appropriately titled I’m Sorry.
Our vet started at the first box again to check heart beats.
I stayed the longest in our last box bidding my dear Nanna farewell. Just three days before she had two stillborns again. This time, two days apart. Now we know it was the CAE. She was so sad and cried every day such a woeful cry. As did I for her loss and my loss to come.
When I left her box to walk to the front door on the other end of the stable, I could not look to my left because now my goats were not just sleeping. They were gone…
Now the healing has begun.
Our stable is silent and empty.
We will start again in 6 mos.
Mati is negative but could be positive when we test him again in 6 mos when he is 1 year old.
I’m just so sad.
It was one of the hardest days of my life.
I received a call from Rachel every night after the show and walk with her from the tube to her front door. Hearing all the fun and mishaps that can happen during a production was the greatest diversion I could ever have. It was fun to be able to forget for awhile and laugh.
I’m just so sad…
Leif has emptied each box and disinfected the entire stable and it will sit empty for at least 6 mos.
Leif has made a new enclosure for Mati.
Please don’t cry.
I can not tell you how many configurations of a solution I went through before making my final decision. I tried to find a way to do this and come out the other end unbroken. I passed each new plan through Rachel and our vet Magnus. Rachel joked saying that poor man probably regrets the day he gave me his email. We laughed. It helped to laugh some.
My cultural ancestors gave me the strength to make my decision. I called on all spirits and my Native American family to hold me up. My African American heritage is what brought bouts of ridiculous laughter in the face of such tragedy. Our slave ancestors had to find joy to survive or I would not be here today.
I am sure I was carried through it all by their spirits and continue to be carried until I heal.
Before our vet hugged us both before leaving us. I told him as I held him close that I knew it wasn’t easy for him either. He has grown to know us, our stable and goats over many years. He’s been with us through the good and bad.
He pulled back, looked me in my eyes and said these were the very best cared for goats he had seen in his entire career. We had a gentle laugh about my spoiled goats. Rachel said the same several times. It brought a smile to our faces.
We are looking toward our future. Our next step was deciding which goats to get to start a new herd. It may sound too soon , but we need something to hang onto and look forward to.
The Sami, the Native People of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia are very very similar to Native Americans. The culture and spiritual beliefs are the same.
With that in mind, my next herd will be the Swedish Sami endangered Lappgetter. These goats are from the very north of Sweden. They are entrusted to several farms in gene banks with numbers of only just over 200 in Sweden. Being protected, they are clean, healthy and I will not need to worry about CAE. They are beautiful and hardy. They enjoy being out in the snow, even babies a few days old.
This is our light at the end of this very dark tunnel. We three are in agreement and look forward to this.
Mati will be loved and if I see any sign of illness before the 6 mos testing, I must put him down. There is NO cure or even treatment. I do not want him to suffer.
Our fingers are crossed, but in my heart of hearts, I think I will say goodbye to my little Mati. The disease is passed through mother’s milk and the natural act of cleaning a baby at birth. His mommy Pansy died weeks after his birth. It will be a miracle if he remains negative.
It’s not over yet.
Please don’t cry.
I don’t know if I wrote this, but this was the sky overhead as I waited outside while our vet checked for final heart beats. It gave me some peace watching the clouds and knowing they were free.
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