Deb was fine yesterday morning. I took pictures of her grazing with the other sheep. Of her and Rosemary hanging out together.
It seems so “all of a sudden” with sheep. But in the afternoon, when we let the animals out to graze Deb ran into the fence then fell on her side. It wasn’t until later that we knew the problem wasn’t that she hit the fence, she hit the fence because something was already wrong.
She stumbled out into the pasture, disoriented, not able to find the flock. But she found the fence and leaning against it, followed it back to the pole barn. The other sheep quickly followed her. Supporting her.
Jon was on the phone immediately and the Vet came a couple of hours later. After examining her, he gave her three injections and left four days worth of injections for us to give her. There were three things he thought it could be. (I honestly can’t remember what they were) If it was one of them we would see a big difference by the next day.
By noon today she wasn’t better, she was worse. Both Jon and I know how sheep quickly get sick and die. That, most often, there’s little that can be done for them. That the Vets only have so many solutions.
I’ve had sheep for about five or six years and I’ve seen it happen more than once. How they suddenly seem to get sick. How they don’t get up again.
The first time it happened I wasn’t sure my sheep Tess wouldn’t get better after collapsing in the field. I had to trust Jon. The difference is that now I feel like I can pretty much tell when a sheep is so sick and suffering so much, it’s more humane to kill her than keep her alive.
I could see it with Deb this morning.
When Jon went into the barn with his rifle to shoot Deb, I stood outside and repeated to myself, the Loving Kindness chant I’ve come to depend on whenever I’m feeling scared or sad or need to be comforted.
May you be filled with lovingkindness, may you be well, may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be truly happy.
I heard the gun shots and a little bit later felt a letting go. A shift in the reality I have known for the past three years since Deb was born. It’s like she slid from one space to another. Like the puzzle pieces slightly morphed to accommodate this new reality. I cried for her and me earlier in the morning, I didn’t cry then.
Yesterday, when we first separated Deb from the other sheep and got her in the barn, I sat next to her, quietly wondering if I was being of any comfort to her. She was leaning up against the gate that opens into the pole barn. Liam, the wether, who was born around the same time she was, was laying down on the other side of the gate, as close to her as he could get. I knew then she was getting more comfort from being close to him than from me.
So I left her to be with her flock. Every once in a while she would call out and one of them would answer.
This afternoon, when Jon shot Deb, all the sheep went out to graze. I laid a tarp over her and thought of Eve Marko’s blog post today called Take Your Place.
“It’s as if the trees are saying take your place among us. The small shrubs that struggle in vain for sunlight in that place of shadows, they’re saying take your place among us. The branches fallen on the ground say take your place among us. The grass that’s brown because we’ve had no rain tells me: take your place among us. Take your place.”
That’s Deb on the left with her mouth open. When she was born, she came out baaing.