One of the hardest things I've had to learn is that, no matter how difficult, heartbreaking, miserable, awful and tearful a decision might be, the buck stops with me. I am the one who decided to bring the sheep/llama/chickens/turkeys/pigs/rabbits/quail/Guineas/cats/dogs/betas to Little Lucky Farm. By taking that step, I stepped up and took responsibility for their care, health and happiness. And I honestly feel (well, most of the time) that I am doing the best job I can.
It's all just peachy keeno when things are going well. When there is no hitch in the lambing, when you're out being mobbed for treats, handing out the hay. But things can also go very wrong. Like the time I went out to find a lamb rigid with a dangerously high fever brought about by tetanus - which was brought about because I didn't vaccinate them in a timely manner. I was lucky and found her in time - and managed to race the hour to the vet, who saved her. It was an expensive lesson, but only in hard cash, thank goodness.
Now I am faced with my all-time least favorite decision. One that I would gladly hand off to just about anyone. I have to make a quality of life decision. It's not like these animals can tap me on the shoulder and say, "Hey, there. I'm not enjoying my life here and I would appreciate it if you would help me out. And whatever you decide is fine by me." Flora has hit a wall and I was up most of the night thinking about what to do. She totters around, she chews her cud, she is skin and bones. It's not parasites - it's probably a combination of old age and cardiac problems and heaven only knows what else. She will eat her grain, lying down to rest frequently. More and more frequently. It would be a lot easier if she showed signs of suffering. But that old girl is a stoic.
So I have taken the first step and called the vet. The next is to decide a day and time. Then there are the logistics of what to do when she's 'late'. She has to be moved. She has to be buried. The latter is the most difficult because I live on 90% stone. Thankfully, my dairy farmer neighbor has offered to help.
When all is done, the only thing left is the missing her.
P.S. Since we're on the subject of tough stuff, I'd appreciate it if you all would send some 'head homeward' thoughts this way. Kay's dear Phoebe, her LGD, was apparently frightened out of her wits when their silo came down in the storm on Monday, ran off and hasn't come home. We are all concerned for her and her brother misses her terribly.