Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A sudden illness...a revival...and the healing is in the barn not the house

Moose last night

Last night at feedings. I found Moose in the barn, lying down, his head bent back, his eyes puffy and shut. He was not well. His mouth was warm, a good thing. He was trembling, not from cold but from illness. He was grinding his teeth, a sign of discomfort. I never jacket my goats unless they are very old or ill on very cold nights. Moose is not old, he is a healthy seven year old and has been with us since he was born. So I put two jackets on him and ran to the house for my regime I've been taught over the years by my vets.

Of course it was a weekend night, and no vet could be called, but I knew they'd do what I had done. His temperature was not that high. I moved him onto a sleeping bag, and gave him shots and pain/anti inflamatory meds, electrolytes and probiotics. He got up once, on his own, and stood in the same spot. I watched from the other corner. In about 2 minutes, he just sort of collapsed. I spent time with him, over an hour, calming him so his breathing slowed. I knew the pain med would help. My thought turned to fear as he could have been septic, he could have been blocked, neither are good.

I went into the hay area and The Goose was there. I held him, he curled his neck as geese do, into my neck and tucked his head into my coat. I love holding The Goose. I told The Goose I didn't want him to ever die, but "You will die, everyone here will die." I shed some tears, and The Goose went his way and I went mine. "Such drama," he must have thought.

I checked on Moose a few times into the night. He was the same. I went to bed preparing for the moment I opened the barn door to find him dead. But...he was up, walking, alert, his eyes wide open, and he was not stumbling. He ate, he drank, he wanted to go outside. I held him, or tried, but he was back to his normal 'Please don't hold me I am not your baby' mode. All good signs. His temp was okay.

Three hours later he seemed okay, but a bit off. I hope it was what it was and stays away.

I was admonished by a total stranger on social media for not bringing him in the house. I didn't bother to respond to her. I have many things to do here, and have learned silence is 99% of the time a better response to online animal police with opinions. The barn is many things-church, cafeteria, playground, sun room, triage room and a healing comfort for those that live, and die there. To die in the barn for me would be a blessing of a gift-to go out hearing the chewing of my mates, the smells, the light coming through the cracks of the walls...it is what Moose knows. Taking an animal out of its natural place to a human world-a world of harsher sounds and lights-is not healing. Moose does not want to be with me, he wants to be near Goose [the goat]. In fact when I checked in on him around noon today, there he was, in the corner with Goose.

Moose this morning