Last night Brian and I noticed that one of the neighbors cows was persistently "MOOOOO"ing at the corner of his property. On closer inspection, we found the source of her distress. Her calf was standing near the fence, looking feeble and cold. We looked at each other and both felt concern for the well being of this baby animal. As I put on my jacket and headed out the door for work I said a silent prayer that the calf would make it through the night.
I drove up to the house this morning, with Pepper chasing the car down the dirt road, and I eagerly looked for the little calf. Sure enough, his mom was standing nearby the corner of our neighbor's property, still with "MOO" after "MOO". I saw a tiny black blob on the ground, unmoving. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. Running inside, I told myself to calm down and not to wake Brian with the news of a potentially dead baby cow. "I think something's really wrong with the calf!" I blurted.
We agreed that I should call our neighbor, who immediately drove down to take a look. I walked with him to get close enough to the calf to see what what wrong. I breathed a sigh of relief as he turned his tiny cow head to look at us. Our neighbor told us the calf had been born only a few days earlier and that he might be sick and that there wasn't much we could do. All we can do is wait.
I looked at my own animals in thanks, both goats standing on the tiny structures in their pen and the dogs full of rambunctious energy. Although I am thankful our animals are healthy and happy now, I know I must prepare myself for the difficulties and sadness that comes with raising livestock. Many farmers have been raised to accept the loss that comes with animal husbandry. The difference is, all my animals have names.
We begin to prepare for the dogs to get spayed on Thursday. They will temporarily be living in the garage to keep their sutures clean. Wish us all luck in this potentially disastrous adventure!