Everyone (well, most everyone) has seen those heart warming stories on Facebook where some cute animal does something heroic, or amazing, or unexpected. For no good reason whatsoever those stories usually make me crazy. That might be half the reason I don’t use Facebook. That might also be the reason that what follows stings my pride a little more than normal. . .
So much is happening at the Gowan property right now. Renovations to the stone barn are well underway. As I type this the old house is coming down (don’t panic we will replace it). The high tunnel in the Education Field is not only complete, but planted and seedlings have already emerged. Peas are in the ground with trellises in place. The first 2 of our 8 planting zones are tilled, prepped, and some beds are planted. Most amazingly, however, the last of our pregnant goats finally delivered yesterday in the middle of a miserable snow storm.
What makes this special? Well. . . this particular doe has a hernia large enough that I can get three fingers into her abdominal cavity. After a long chat with the vet the ball was left in our court as to whether we ‘re-purpose her’ or keep her as a pet – which we really don’t do. Conceivably she could live a long healthy life free of trouble but she should not be bred. On the other hand she could lay down wrong, compromise her intestines and suffer a long miserable fate.
We had decided, and don’t think this was an easy decision, that we would spare her the risk of suffering and us the incurred stress of many special accommodations. That was the day that the vet called to tell us that our little doe was already pregnant. Now we had two patients, not one, and we had a harder decision to make. Outnumbered, and a softy to boot, I opted to nurse Snickers (yes, she is named Snickers) through pregnancy with the Vet on speed dial should delivery exacerbate the hernia and call for an emergency C-section.
It came to pass yesterday at a little after 1 in the afternoon that Snickers delivered a healthy baby girl without complication.
Now. . .to our story:
It is important to note that Snickers is in the barn for management reasons. Her neighbors in the barn are a ram on one side, and a 700 pound pig awaiting a trip to freezer camp on the other. We have had tremendous support from Campus Life and our Campus Safety departments with overnight lamb watch and bottle feedings, etc. With no fear of our kid being lost to hypothermia or neglect I slept soundly last night.
This morning I arrived to find Snickers laying in her stall with her head stuck under the fencing dividing her from the 700 pound hog. Her head in the pig stall, her body in her stall and no baby anywhere to be found. A crumpled up, soggy goat coat (a flannel jacket for newborns) on the ground in a pile of salad scraps inside the pig stall, and a rather contented pig laying against the opposite wall all certainly pointed in one direction. Our baby wandered into the wrong stall and became a midnight snack.
My heart sank for two very different reasons. First, “Really! All that work for this?” Secondly, I am in so much trouble with the girls!
I completely missed how awkwardly the pig was positioned as I searched the remaining stalls while any hope of my surviving the day evaporated. Then our old hog stood up and I let rip a yell of both frustration and relief. Laying beneath the pig was one baby goat, a little slimy but warm and comfortable.
Now, what follows is a bit of a Rorschach test for the mind. One of two three things happened. How you interpret it is . . well. . . you decide.
Version 1: This is the luckiest kid in the history of the world! The pig laid down in it’s nest (yes, pigs nest and this pig has one) unaware of the goat and somehow managed to not crush it.
Version 2: The pig was laying in it’s nest snug and warm and the kid used the pig slop to lubricate it’s own body and squeeze under the pig. This would at least explain why the goat was slimy and gross.
Versions 3: The pig was tending to the baby nesting with it to keep it warm – which it was. (I will never open admit that I believe this, because really. . . it’s just absurd, but. . . considering all of the factors it seems the most likely. Now how do we eat this pig????)
There it is. An honest to goodness, real life Facebook-didn’t-make-this-up story. Of course, you did still read it on the internet. . . .