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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

When you love a Moose

I read once in a care taking/hospice book, to not say, "Don't go, stay with me," to a patient, rather say, "Stay as long as you need to."

I use that as my code. I've only broken my code once while at the farm-once while trying to pull Aunt Bea out of decline. On Monday, Little Moose was very ill–the night before he had seemed a bit off, and I gave him probiotics. But in the morning he was way off. His mouth was cold, but he had good color in his eyes and tongue. He wasn't down, but his breathing seemed odd. He wasn't eating. I had a sick feeling about it. Decided not to risk it but none of my vets were available for an ER call to the farm, so I drove him into one of my vets. No liver issue in blood work, no worms, no pain/tension in his gut. Could be a neurological thing, or pneumonia-the latter is bad. So we treated him for infection and fever and I brought him home for Apifera care.That was Monday night. Tuesday his temp was better, but he still wasn't eating or drinking. We continued med regime and electrolytes, and force feeding at night. But I was worried.

Some of you will remember how Little Moose landed here. My mother died in April, and my old pug right after that. I then lost two other of the elders in a short time span. Of course, this is part of aging on neglected elders–I understand. But I needed life. I needed youth. I wanted a gift for ME. Little Moose was born on my birthday, up in Washington to a trusted friend of the farm. I was honored she let me give this special fellow a home. They brought him down on Pino Pie Day last June.

I can't tell you how fond I am of this guy, as well as Goose–who was born on Martyn's birthday, and his client needed to find him a non breeding home; Martyn knew I wanted some youth, so we ended up with two youngsters and I named them Moose and Goose. They are also nicknamed The Monkees. Endless humor from both of them. Endless terms of endearment could flow from my typing onto this page–but on with the story.

So last night, I was feeling much better about Moose since his temp was down. But something just grabbed me while I was with him giving him his med regime. I took him into the hay barn with me so he could hang out with me, away from the chaos of The Misfit hay smorgasborg–and I could watch him while I did feedings. He seemed pretty strong, not declining, a bit more coughing but not a lot. No runny nose. He nibbled on hay. I force fed him some rice bran mixed with beer, my vet's suggestion. His temp went up slightly but I think that is normal. And I held him in between force gulps of his mash.

"You're my little knight in shining brown armor. You came to the farm for me, born on my birthday and you are suppose to get old with me and share birthday stories with me. Don't go."

I had a good cry, mashing my face into his. He tolerated the drama.

"This is so selfish of me, Moose, forgive me,"

Nature will do what she will do. I can intervene, aide, but I can't control it. I usually have a sense about things, an inkling of an outcome-but I didn't last night. I felt 'off'. I rode in the morning yesterday and felt 'off'. I got the trailer stuck on a hill in mud. I broke an egg in my jacket. I stuck the med needle into my thigh by mistake.

Maybe that's why I asked Moose not to go, maybe by asking it makes me feel like he has the power not to go, or that one uncontrollable outcome-no matter what it will be- will be my divine gift from Nature, this one time.

When I left the barn, the sky was so red! "Don't take him!" I said.

I'm getting soft.

And then this morning...

"Moose!" I said as I entered the barn. I could hear him, in his recovery suite, near Goose. It is my morning ritual. First I say, "Boone!" as I walk across the barnyard after I hear his knicker, then upon entering the barn, the first faces I see are The Monkeys and I say, "Moose! Goose!"

I had walked to the barn this morning in the 25 degrees temperature-very cold for here. Frozen, frosty, and a beautiful sun against one huge blue window. But what really lit up my face was seeing Moose this morning. He was looking up at me with the wide eyed look I know and love-the look of,

"Hi! Moose here! Good day, eh? Let's eat!"

He seemed so good. Active, ready to scamper. He ate a tiny bit of food with Goose, Ernest, Professor and Wilbur-his normal routine. I let him out in barnyard with everyone and he nibbled hay with the usual suspects. And the sweetest part-he waddled over to Old Rudy as only Moose can waddle, and hung out with him, just like he did on his first days and nights here. He always goes back to Rudy.

I watched him for 30 minutes and he seemed pretty good–for the first time I am openly optimistic. He still coughed with his drenches, but that isn't that unusual. And his temp was really low, but it's cold. He has another week of meds which we will continue [always finish a med regime, FYI] and I am hoping for continued goodness.

I am now trying not to look at every goat in the place and think they look 'off'. I suppose kindergarten teachers go through this–one kid goes down with a fever and she envisions them all as possible next victims.

Hail to Moose! Little Moose! I will say it again to those of your reading–I don't want him to go!


Carole Reid said...

How's Moose today, Katherine?

Katherine Dunn/Apifera Farm said...

Hi Carole- He ate well last nite and tonight. But this morning he had a very low temp, not normal-it is very cold out, so I just talke to vet and have him by fire for a bit to see if his temp can go up. But he is strong! I'm wishing the darn weather would warm up-cold for us here so that would help.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~