This past week has been somewhat of a low one. I try to be as transparent as possible on here, so I want to document the lows just as much as the highs. I get messages all the time on facebook saying how glamorous and dreamy our life looks…the animals, the land, the culture that we are immersed in. I’m sure it does to the outsider looking in. Who doesn’t love cute baby calves and bottle feeding goats and collecting eggs right outside your door? It is dreamy- it’s our dream, and we are blessed to live it. But I can also say honestly that I know every farmer and rancher will tell you the same thing…it’s work. It’s not all sunshine and bunny kisses.
Last Wednesday just days after joining our family, our livestock guardian puppy, Hoss, was diagnosed with parvo. I was naively under the impression that once they had started puppy shots they were somewhat protected. Hoss came having already gotten his first round of shots which had included the parvo vaccine. He came with paperwork with the shots and dates he’d received them. I already had an appointment later in the week for him to get his next round. I took him in early because he wasn’t acting himself and something in me knew something was up. He tested positive right away and our options were to take him home and try to keep his fluids up and hope for the best, or leave him at the vet for rigid IV treatments. We decided to try two days at the vet before taking him home. They gave him a 50% chance of making it.
I called the lady I’d gotten him from since the vet said he’d obviously contacted the disease at her place since he hadn’t been at ours long enough to show signs. She sounded surprised and had already sold the rest of the puppies. She said she would call the other buyers to let them know. I’m not sure she did that though because she never answered any of my texts or calls when I tried the next few days. I am not sure if she knew the puppies were sick or lied about the shots or if it was just an honest kick of nature.
Hoss spent three days at the vet before we picked him up. I was hoping to find him somewhat better, even a wag of the tail would have convinced me we might still have a chance. But he just looked at me with sad eyes and sat in a weak heap on my floorboards as I drove home. He was skinny since he hadn’t eaten in days. I made a nice spot for him on the back porch and kept his fluids up all that day by syringe. I got a few wags of the tail but not much. I wanted to keep fighting for him but it seemed like he was hurting at this point.
It got chilly that night so we brought him into the laundry room and I got up several times that night to give him meds and fluids. Twice I woke up and found he had jumped out of his box in the laundry room and found his way into our bedroom. He was lying by the bed. It seemed like already at his young age he’d taken up his role as guardian strongly. It was like he knew we were there and wanted to be there with us. As much as I hated to, I put him back in the laundry room. He was having horrible diarrhea and I didn’t want it all over the house.
I lay there in bed praying in the early hours of the morning. Asking the Lord to show us when it was time to stop fighting. If he was going to make it, make it obvious, and if not, show us. First thing in the morning I got up to give him his meds and found him stretched out and really struggling. He was completely limp and unresponsive. I started crying because I knew it was time. He was done fighting and was letting us know.
I’m forever thankful that Sebron is a stronger person than me. People say I’m tough, but I’m a blubbering mess when it comes to losing an animal we’ve fought so hard for. Sebron took him outside and put him down and the kids and I went out later to help bury him.
The next day Sebron came down with the stomach bug, and I followed shortly after. These last few days we’ve been surviving on ritz crackers and trying to parent while not getting too close… We’ve watched tons of Disney movies and taken turns feeding animals and kids. Feeding sheep and rabbits doesn’t sound so glamorous when you’re feeling rotten and puking does it?
So, we’ve gotten nothing done. The fence needs to be finished, the eggs need to be washed, we miss our puppy and all we’ve been able to do is sit around in our pj’s feeling blue.
Thankful for new mercies every morning, emails from friends at midnight when you’re up sick and can’t sleep, kids who have been awesome, being able to eat real food today! God is good all the time!