Thursday, August 12, 2010

Animals in Our Lives

My blogger friend Deanna recently lost both her dog and her cat.  Having lost many pets and farm animals over the past year, I understand her pain.  On her blog, in the comments section, she remarked how such small creatures can leave large holes in your life.  I've often marveled at that same thought, since pets occupy so little space and yet have a huge presence.

This past year has been very painful for me.  It started with several bad snow storms.  The bad weather was hard on our farm animals.  We raise goats and a number of our ladies were pregnant over the winter.  Of the sixteen kids they carried, only eight made it.  Most were still born; one only lived a day.  Then one of our female goats, Marla, who had given birth to stillborn triplets, took a turn for the worst.  I called out the vet but it was too late.  Around the same time, I became attached to another of our goats, Layla,  because I had nursed her through an upper respiratory infection.  In the spring, my hubby found Layla down in the pasture.  Her face was swollen and we later realized she must have been bitten by a snake.  Again, despite all our efforts, we lost Layla and her unborn kids as well.  

To add insult to injury, we also lost several of our chickens to a coyote that the neighbors called Stubby due to his stub tail.  One afternoon, I stumbled upon one of his attacks which left one of the chickens barely alive - and she didn't make it.  Stubby also took our roosters, one of whom, Tonto, was one of our original roosters.  We suspect that our handicapped chicken, Honey, disappeared into the jaws of this same coyote.  

In the meantime, we lost Jack, our easy-going basset hound/beagle mix, to what was probably cancer.  Most recently, my sweet barn cat Zelda had a severe case of ringworm that was just a symptom of an underlying condition that ultimately took her.  

Anyone who knows me understands why I include the farm animals, not just the pets.  Not only do I think of animals as people, I come to know them as individuals, even the chickens.  They have their own unique personalities that I've learned to appreciate.  Each of the named animals had qualities that made them special.  Although pets and some farm animals are physically small, they have big personalities.  They provide many hours of entertainment, companionship, and, yes, love.  Losing them really does leave a huge void.


Fiona said...

Beautiful post and well-said Cherie. Even pets (vs. productive animals who lay eggs etc) more than earn their keep with the love and companionship they provide.

I always give my pets 'people' names as you do. I was interested to be told that doing this is beneficial as it helps them form their own distinctive place in the cosmos when they pass on.

So hopefully my Rosie and Hannah are more evolved cat-spirits than they might have been...

Deanna said...

Even though I try not to get as attached to the chickens or the outdoor cats, I still feel horrible when something happens to one of them. I remember when you were losing the goats and how sad that was.

Cherie said...

Thank you, Fiona. I've also read that giving pets real names makes them better animals.

Deanna, I really do get too attached to animals. That's why I'm trying to distance myself some from the farm animals.