Monday, April 12, 2010

In this time of darkness, we await the return of light...

It has been a dark and dreadful winter, and though the calendar may say it's spring, the occurrences here as of late demonstrate that the time of light and hope are anything but near...
Well, we are in the final stages of wrapping up the fiasco that was a distracted driver wreck on our property. On Saturday, March 27th, a distracted driver (ogling at the animals, I'm sure) plowed her vehicle through our two (largest) front pastures, completely destroying the fencing. Thankfully, the woman did not hurt any animals or pedestrians, and she herself and her young son were uninjured. Because of the gaping holes in the pasture fencing, we had to quickly round up frightened animals and create very sketchy temporary pens for them. The donkeys had to be moved into a NON-equine-proof goat pasture, the male goats had to be moved into the baby goat pasture (and share a fence line with the female goats - the thought of any possible unplanned breedings has stressed me out immensely (yes, I know it's unlikely, but goats are wily...)), and the babies had to be moved into a dark empty stall in the barn (with NO pasture). The llamas and angoras had to be housed together in a tiny pasture with a very leaky shelter on the far end of the property. All told, this wreck displaced 21 animals. Dealing with the driver's insurance has been an absolute NIGHTMARE. Instead of treating us as the hapless victims, they have acted as though we were the culprits! Refusing to pay for anything but "patching" the fence at the metal posts (not feasible), we have had to fight with them to reimburse us for numerous other costs related to the wreck. Because of being housed in a non-equine pasture, my beloved little donkey jack, Moonie, got his foot caught in the gate grid, and nearly broke his leg trying to get free. Thankfully, I was able to rush into the pasture, keep him calm, grab a set of bolt cutters, and cut his foot out of the fence! He limped for the rest of the day, and rubbed all of the fur off from where the fence chafed him, but was otherwise okay. I have never been so terrified...while trying to research boarding options for our displaced donkeys (which was nearly pointless with an intact jack and a broken trailer), we discovered that the person we had been in a legal contract with to buy a certain donkey went and sold said donkey to someone else right under our noses! When asked why they broke a legally binding contract (and yes, I have the contract and signatures in my filing cabinet), the person replied, "Well, I thought since you already had a donkey you were proud of that you wouldn't care if I sold this one." So, we are currently involved in a legal battle over that. Next, a wind storm two days after the car wreck downed a large oak tree in another animal pasture, destroying that fencing and forcing me to herd more animals into an already cramped makeshift pasture. The wind storm also toppled our ornamental plum tree in front of the house (which thankfully fell AWAY from the car that was parked next to it!). Ever since that terrible windstorm last September, which broke the oak tree next to the house in half and sent it crashing into the roof above my head, I have developed full blown panic attacks any time there is bad wind on the property. That being said, having more downed trees two days after a very traumatic wreck did NOT help my anxiety disorder.
We finally got a contractor lined up to do the fencing repairs on the pastures, and it seemed as though everything was going well...then my truck died, and required a tow in to the service center. I was about ready to sit down and sob at that point, not only for wondering how we were going to pay for expensive repairs, but also for the fact that I needed to get hay that weekend and had no vehicle to haul it in! Thankfully, employee perks paid off, and we managed to get the truck back before the hay ran out...I thought to myself, "Okay, things are finally looking up." This past weekend rolled around, and my husband and I planned a relaxing day-long date of library visits, wine tasting, plant bartering, and movie/dinner. We had to clean out the barn stalls that morning before setting out on our planned date, and as I was in the barn I heard a terrible crying coming from the baby stall. My grandmother happened to be closer, and reached the scene first. She found our long-awaited Captain Flowers crying on the ground, unable to stand, and acting as though her legs would not even work. We rushed her into the vet, where she nearly died while they were trying to figure out what was going on. The vet finally discerned that it was a nasty case of pneumonia, possibly brought on by asphyxiating on some milk. The vet kept Captain Flowers overnight, and on Sunday called and said that she seemed to be doing better. The vet asked to keep her one more night, and if she was still looking good they would send her home the next day. Well, this morning I got a call from the vet, who told me that around midnight last night, Captain Flowers took a turn for the worse. They had to pump fluid out of her lungs every few hours, and she was currently completely catatonic and barely hanging in there. The vet said that they thought it was some sort of congenital birth defect that caused milk to go into her lungs any time she nursed, because every time the vet fed her, Flowers' lungs filled up with fluid. I have to say, we all thought there might be something wrong with her from the start. It wasn't anything you could put your finger on, but she failed to thrive the way that the other babies did...In any event, the vet is giving her a few more hours to see if she improves, and if not, they are going to have to put her down. I had to break the heart-rending news to my grandmother, who absolutely adored her little "Cappie." It's been a truly awful day, and this is bringing back all of the memories of losing my beloved Jugi, whom I still think about every single day.

I can only hope that this the end in a long string of horrible events. Captain Flowers, you were so loved, I am so sorry to see you come to this sort of end. A life cut short - a baby lost - before it even had a chance to begin.

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