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Friday, December 12, 2008

This is Hard to Tell you

The reason I started blogging was because of the lack of info out there. Sure, there was plenty of how to's on subjects, but none of them prepared you for the mistakes that came along with this life style. When I began, there were zero blogs or books or magazines that helped you tackle these things. It all started with butchering my own bird, and the lack of anatomy lessons that the books held. I'm from the suburbs, never held a chicken let alone butchered out before. And there seemed like no where to turn when something went wrong. I write to warn you, I write to help you, and I write to help myself. And now I have a story, this is a part of the simple life.

I was watching the very late local news last night. I kept hearing dogs barking. After a few minutes I realized that the barking was coming from my own yard. I went to the back door and opened it. There was two dogs, one had the neck of my angora goat, and the other had her rear. I screamed bloody murder, neglected to grab my gun, and ran out toward the two dogs and my beloved goat, Dora. The dogs ran, blood dripped off the goat's white dreads. I ran back up to the house and screamed for my husband, then back to my goat. She was standing, she was wobbly but standing. Our sheep, Donkey, making cooing noises at her. He wasn't leaving her side. I took my hands and tried to find the wound around her neck, and pressed. Unsure if where I was pressing was the correct spot. We were under a barn light, but the light was insufficient for what I needed to do. My husband asked what was going on from the back door. "They got Dora! Help me" he mumbled something and disappeared into the house. I was left alone.
I waited for my husband for a bit. I realized that the blood wasn't stopping. I stood in the 20 degree weather, in bare feet, a flannel pj bottom, and a punk rock band shirt. I took my shirt off. Good thing I still had a bra on, it kept a little bit of me warm. With my shirt now off, I used it to apply pressure to the wound as I waited for my husband. He soon came from the house with a flashlight. I used the flashlight to find the wound, I was dead on the spot already, but there was still the other wounds on her rear.
It took my husband some time to realize I was shirtless. And when he did, he handed over his jacket. Now what to do? We had to get her somewhere to work on her. To save her. My husband went back into the house and came back with a couple of towels. With a bit of effort, she was carried into the house and placed into the bathtub. One of the things my husband was doing while I was freezing topless, was to get out the iodine, bleed stop and a water bottle. Once she was in the tub, I quickly used the water bottle to flush away all the blood and find the wounds. There is no Vet ER for large animals any where close to us. At 1 am, you are on your own.
I found many wounds, none were punctures, all where deep slashes. We cleaned them and applied the bleed stop. It looks like the dogs removed her tail. Luckily it was a clean removal. I got her to eat a little, while the kittens stood guard. She tried to nibble them if they got too close to her. I was a bloody mess myself.
She is still laying in the bathtub. She has not tried to get up yet. But I think she will make it through the attack. This morning we will glue the wounds closed after recleaning them, and start giving her some antibiotics. As long as infection doesn't set in, I think she will be just fine.
So there you have it. This is reality on farms and homesteads all over the world. It just so happens that mine has been plagued lately with dog attacks, thefts and so forth. It use to be wonderful. Spent many years with calm and no deaths. This year. . .well it has put me to the test.


Donna said...

I've been through this with dogs SO often. Had four lambs once that I raised on the bottle. They were almost grown when a neighbor's pack of German Shepherds killed them all.

I know something to do about dogs, but it isn't kind, and it would also do away with any cats on the place. I won't say what my recipe is here because a lot of people would hate me for it. But I WILL take care of my own animals.

amanda o said... sorry about your goat, but glad she is okay!

Garden4Life said...

It was a good thing you went out to check on things when you did. Your goat wouldn't made it until morning. How scared you must've been going through this. I'm so happy you kept your head on straight while you took care of this. It sounds like you did everything right.

This makes me very aware that I need to be more prepared in handling an emergency such as this - especially with the wound treatment. Humans are so different in the fact you can reason with them and bandage them. Do you have a reference book you use for animal care?

Thanks for sharing this tragic moment on your homestead. Please keep us posted on the recovery. :)

Kate said...

This is a good story, a hard story; not a happy one, but a valuable one. Those of us trying to learn from one another need to hear these stories, even though it's sad and humbling for the storyteller. Thanks for having the fortitude to tell us.

I hope Dora makes it through alright. These were your dogs? How did they get at her?

Janelle said...

wow, that is really hard. I have no idea what I would have done :(

Anonymous said...

Wow. First off, I am so sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience, phelan. But I am thankful you shared it. We are hoping to get goats this spring and dogs may be an issue at my parents property. It is something we need to think about. And you reminded me that nothing is so important as being prepared. We are going to have to be sure to get a health kit together so we are as prepared as we can be. Thank you so much for sharing. I really hope she makes it, my friend.

Gina said...

Dogs, your own or otherwise, are extreme tests to homesteading with livestock. I know first hand (and I know you already do too).

Hope she continues to heal...

fullfreezer said...

As a child, I remember helping my uncle clean up his sheep after an attack by a pack of dogs. Unfortunately he didn't have as keen of hearing as you do and it was quite a mess.
Hope Dora is doing well.

MeadowLark said...

When it rains, it pours.
I hope you get through this tough patch and soon move on to the sunshine.

Sarah said...

This has been a trial on our place as well. Our closest neighbors are puppy collectors. No training, no containment. They count on us to get rid of dogs for them that are no longer cute or are getting too old (i.e. dogs that are out of control and trying to kill our animals). I hate it, but I'm not letting them slaughter the animals I'm caring for.

We've invested several thousand dollars in good fencing but last summer I found that they'd dug under it and we had to go on high alert again. Ugh.

I hope your goat heals well.

Farmgeek said...

I'm sorry that this has happened to you.

You will want to clean those wounds throughly and repeatedly. Irrigating those wounds is very important. You will want to use a saline solution (which you can make) to rinse out the bacteria and minimize damage to the surrounding tissue. It's the secondary infections that will be an issue. I'm sure that dancingfarmer (my lovely bride) has a plethora of advice for you on keeping the animal healthy and comfortable.

trying to live the good life said...

Phelan email me off line.
You need some "vet" help and I am your man.
I have done these injuries before but DO NOT seal those wounds closed. Farmgeek (my hubby) joined blogger just so he could tell you to contact me.

Margaret's Ramblings said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Dora. I hope she is still recovering. I once experienced this same thing with a little kitten, miles from anyone when living in rural New Zealand. And she pulled through. Animals have such deep powers of recovery.

The Thinker said...

Thinking healing thoughts for Dora. I hope she does alright.

alrescate said...

I hope Dora makes it.


Marina said...

Dang girl... seems like Somebody's smite button has gotten stuck.

Do I dare ask what's happening with the dogs?

Michelle said...

*hugs* to you! I'm so sorry this happened. You were very brave and level-headed, and I will pray for your Dora that she survives. Thanks for sharing this important story with us.

FancyHorse said...

I hope Dora will be all right, and you, too!

Gail said...

Sounds like you guys are on top of this. If you can keep her from shocking, she should be ok.
I think I would track those dogs down! Farmer's unspoken rule, if dogs are bothering anyone's stock they are GONE!

Kilgor said...

Every homestead needs at least a shotgun and a .22 rifle.

Shotgun + murderous dog = safe livestock

white_lilly said...

That was so terrible for you and Dora. You are very calm and level headed dealing with this situation. Thank you for sharing your story with us as it as made us all more aware and knowledgeable of such a situation. Life throws us so many unexpected situations and we have to grip ourselves and deal with them. Well done :)

Mrs Flam said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so sorry for your event.

Maria said...

oh my gosh! I hope she is doing alright!!

meg said...

I am so sorry to hear about your Dora. That sense of responsibility is so strong, even when you know you couldn't have prevented the attack. I hope she recovers!

SilverSunbeam said...

Oh Phelan! What a terrible way to end the day. I hope morning is finding Dora on her way to healing. Dogs have no conscience.

Phelan said...

Donna, hear hear!

Amanda, thank you.

Garden 4 life, I have an outdated book, but I would like to convince Monica of small meaow farms to write a book for us all.

Kate, we thought we had good fences. Turns out we don't.

Jannelle, I think you would have done the same.

Farm mom, thank you and good luck.

Gina, thank you.

Fullfrezzer, the first time this happened I lost a total of 8 different animals. I don't have that keen of hearing. Our puppy was the one doing all the barking. She tried to be a good dog, but barking was all she could do.

Meadowlark, that it does.

Sarah, I know the feeling. Good fences, but the ground is soft.

Farmgeek, thank you, and I talked to your lovely bride.

Monica, thank you!

Margaret, She seems to be hanging in there. She just bleated a few moments ago, something she hadn't done since this happened, but she doesn't seem to be in great shape.

The Thinker, thank you

ALrescate, thank you. Hope your boys are doing well. I do keep track of them on lj.

Marina, Yep, I pissed someone off long ago. Not sure how much more I can take though.

Michelle, thank you

Fancyhorse, thank you!

Gail we have taken care of dogs before. It was a shame I didn't grab the gun. But. . .well. . .I was just thinking of saving my goat at the moment.

Kilgor, we do have guns, just didn't grab it. My fault, I wasn't thinking straight at the moemnt.

White lilly, thank you.

Mrs Flam, thank you

Maria, she's holding on for now.

Meg, thank you

Phelan said...

Silver sunbeam, I wouldn't say that. Dogs are very helpful on a homestead. Almost a neccasity. The problem is pack mentality and breeding that has told them to chase and kill. This is my fault, I haven't checked the fence line this past week.

rhonda jean said...

I'm so sorry for Dora. I hope she recovers well, no doubt with you at her side she has a good chance.

I only just read about your problems with the bank and I'm really pleased this online community helped out as much as they did.

I send hugs to you and a hope for a much brighter year in 2009. Merry Christmas Phelan, to you and your family. xx

Julie said...

Hi Phelan -- it's been a while! I am so sorry to hear about the horrific night you and your goat had, but I am so happy to hear you both are ok. Those dogs sound just awful and that goat is lucky to have such a great "mom" in you. I hope to stop by again soon!

Katie said...

This is a very sad reality. When I was younger we raised animals for 4-h. My sister nubian had just had beautiful twin does. A couple days before this my brother took in a stray dog. all went well for a few days and "max" bonded with my pug mix. A few days after this birth I hear mad barking and Max is out there chasing the goats and my pug is right there trying to keep up. I yelled like mad but the dog still got one of the twins. She was in bad shape and my mom had another of my brothers get hos gun and put her down. Both dogs were surrendered to a shelter so that there were no future accidents. This was my first lesson in the sometimes harsh reality of homesteading. I was onlt about 10 but I will never forget any of it. I am sorry about truly sorry about Dora! I would have been the one half naked in a freezing barn in my house. Everyone in the family says I am crazy when it comes to my "babies" of the not so human kind! Hope You make it through all of this okay.

Comfortable Shoes Studio said...

I'm late to the discussion but when I was a kid (25 years ago)we raised meat rabbits. WE always kept our dogs on a run but the neighbors didn't. One morning the neighbors dogs attacked our breeder rabbits- the purebreed male and female, ripped their legs off and guts through the cage, they were still alive when my father went out that AM.

We had caught the dogs sniffing around before. My dad had to put the rabbits down and clean the cages up before my younger brother went out for feeding. He called the sheriff and reported the incident. Then went over and told the neighbors what had happened, and let them know how much money he was out- back then the $20 for a purebreed rabbit was a lot but they could produce 2 or 3 litters of 6 a year! That's a lot of meat. Anyway, he let them know in no uncertain terms that if he saw the dogs on his property again that he'd take care of them. They ended up paying for the dead rabbits and put their dogs on chains rather than ropes like they had been.

Killi said...

IF the bank transfer finally goes through, I'll be getting a radio fence to supplement my stock fencing. The radio fence will enclose the areas where the dogs will have free run. I was going to allow them freedom of the goat field, but after catching the Beddy trying to teach the baby Lurcher to catch ducks (she didn't get caught with the tail in her mouth & scarpered as soon as she saw me, leaving him in disgrace ~ alone he's fine) I decided to take that away from them as my ducks will be joining the goats. The sooner that fence is laid, the better. Are you alloweed to use radio fences in US?

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