Greta passed with our Vet’s assistance on Monday Nov. 23rd. While decisions like this are extremely difficult, they are a necessary part of our work. Greta passed with Mark and Michelle cradling her head and body, comforting her, and reminding her of how much she is loved. While Greta was only with us for seven months, she left a huge impression on our hearts. Greta embodied peace, serenity, and grace.
It was a true privilege to care for her, especially in her senior years, when she needed TLC the most. We will miss her curious and smiling face greeting us every time we entered the barn — making sure we didn’t have a treat to share. While our hearts are aching, we find some solace in knowing Greta knew we loved her, that she had comfort and honor in her last months, and through her passing. While she was nearly fourteen (very old for a goat)when she passed, she still had a very strong will. And she certainly loved her treats! We gave her medications in a banana, and she always looked for more.
Greta was rescued from a farm in Ohio, at the time of her rescue she was the sole goat, living with horses. She had many babies in her life, we don’t know if she was able to keep any of them. What we do know is that she had been neglected for some time. When she arrived in April of this year, she was severely under weight, her hooves were so overgrow they had meshed together underneath; she had all sorts of burrs in her coat. Her back feet had broken down and she walked almost flat footed due to walking on over grown hooves and malnourishment. All the while, she was still the most gentle being.
Upon arriving at PEAK, we immediately started her on anti-inflammatory medicine to help with her arthritis pain, and conservative hoof trimmings. We did see some results with her pain and mobility with medication. Greta was very shy and untrusting of humans when she arrived. It took sometime before she began to trust Michelle, and would let her scratch around her horns. Before long Greta allowed Michelle to sit next to her in the stall and even hug her.
A couple months ago, we began to notice her not wanting to bear weight on her right hoof. We had the vet come to the sanctuary and take an x-ray of her leg – the results were that she had a calcified tendon, which wasn’t letting her straighten her leg, likely from an old injury. With this, about the only thing we could do, is help her with pain and help her be as comfortable as possible. Thinking we might be able to stabilize her other leg with a brace or something to help support her, we had her left leg x-rayed not long after – the results were that what we thought to be her “good” leg, was actually worse than the other. This completely broke our hearts, as we knew how hard the winter would be on her, and that her mobility would become a major issue. With the cold weather, we kept her in a coat, and rubbed liniment on her knees every morning and night.
Greta being the strong-willed girl that she was still moved about her stall slowly. When the weather turned really cold, she didn’t move much during the nights. On Monday, Nov. 23rd, we made our rounds for normal feeding, and found Greta still lying down and extremely bloated (death for a goat if not treated). We immediately got her up, treated her with anti-bloat medication, moved her around a bit, rubbed her stomach, until the gas started releasing. While, the bloat was released, she still very uncomfortable, partly because she had been up on her legs way too long without much rest. Most of that afternoon she moved back and forth between her straw piles in her stall, changing up her positioning in an attempt to get comfortable. She wasn’t interested in food except her beloved bananas. Then around dinner time, we noticed that she started bloating again, which was devastating news, her rumen just wasn’t able to get going with her lack of movement. We treated her with anti-bloat medicine again and called the Vet.
We knew the kindest thing to do was to euthanize her, so that she didn’t die a horrible death by bloat. We had a few hours before the Vet would arrive …. So we sat with her rubbing between her horns, hugging her, and just being present with her. Mark and Michelle were both were both holding her and telling her she was loved as she passed.
Be free, Sweet Greta, you will be missed and forever in our hearts!