Ma, Responsibity and Trust

Ma, Tess and Zelda
Ma, Tess and Zelda

I have a hard time writing about something that’s emotional when I’m going through it.  It doesn’t make for good blogging, after all, it’s the drama of not knowing what’s going to happen that often keeps people coming back.  I guess it’s that writing isn’t my natural mode of self expression.  So many of you probably already know from reading Jon’s blog that our sheep Ma has had some trouble in the past couple of days.

Ma got in a tangle with Red just after she was shorn and Red, who would normally get a mouth full of wool, got skin instead when he tried to get Ma to pay attention to him.  These two have not had such a showdown, since we first got Ma last year and she was being herded by a dog for the first time in her life.  And  I was upset when this  happened on Monday.  I get protective of my sheep and as much as I appreciate and truly need Red’s help often, when moving and containing the sheep, when I see blood no matter what the cause, it gets my fur up.

A big part of it is the responsibility I feel for my sheep.  Jon, who has had sheep for years, knows so much more about them than I do, but there are often still no clear cut answers to how to treat sheep and when to call the Vet.  A lot of it comes down to experience and intuition.

Through out the day yesterday, Jon and I both went back and forth over wheather we should call the Vet back or not.   Monday night, I was sure we needed a Vet, and we called her, but on Tuesday morning, before she showed up,  Ma was up and  her wound looked like it was healing.  By mid morning she was grazing with the rest of the sheep.  But in the heat of the afternoon, she was lying in the shade and not moving.  The other sheep got up but she didn’t.  We were sure she was sick and called the Vet.  A half hour later she was up and grazing again.  We decided to let the Vet come.  Maybe it was just the heat that kept her from getting up, but she suddenly looked skinnier than just the day before and we thought if nothing else, she was probably in some pain.

It turned out to be a good call.  The Vet said she felt air pockets under the skin, an indication of bacteria.  She worked on Ma for over an hour, cleaning her wounds and  packing them with gauze and iodine and giving her antibiotics and painkillers.  It was a nasty messy job most of which I didn’t watch as I kept  Ma from backing up while Jon held her head.

This morning Red gently got the sheep into the pole barn and held them in the corner while Jon and I pulled the gauze out of Ma’s wound (yuk) and gave her a couple of shots.  Then we opened the gates and Ma ran off with the rest of the sheep and donkeys to graze.  She looks healthy, alert,  her sunken sides filled in again and her appetite back.

We’ll keep an eye on her and give her five days of penicillin.   And next time one of the sheep get sick, I’ll  know a bit more and trust myself a bit more than I did this time.  The fear of this kind of responsibility used to keep me from doing things. (like having sheep)  I was afraid of what could happen under my watch.  But I know now that this is what being alive and living a full life is.  Responsibly taking on what I believe I can, and doing the best I can.   Knowing sometimes I’ll get it wrong, and trying to be self aware enough to learn from what ever happens.


22 thoughts on “Ma, Responsibity and Trust

  1. Been thinking of you all with this ~ it’s so hard when an animal you care about is hurting. Thanks for keeping us updated as difficult as that is.

  2. Maria, I love your sheep and am following closely Ma’s progress. Thank you for sharing the lessons you are learning. Your words are very inspirational.

  3. It is really difficult when our animals get hurt. They are animals and will act that way no matter what and they each have such individuality even within breeds. Good job and writing about it is a good idea. It helps everyone. Thanks for the honesty of your writing.

  4. Maria, I have sheep too. And sometimes you just have to go with your gut feelings. Sometimes we can do things for them and they get well. Sometimes they don’t. Y’all did the right thing and it looks like Ma will be fine. I am glad that you and Jon wrote about this. I love Red and he’s a great dog. He helps so much. But he is a dog. And Ma is a sheep. And sometimes things happen. Y’all are such good shepherds. I can see that.

  5. I’m so glad to read that Ma appears to be on the mend. I know how you feel about the responsibility of the care for our animals. I’ve on a couple of occasions wondered the “should I or shouldn’t I” call the equine vet when I’ve had concerns about my horse.

  6. Maria – you say that writing isn’t your natural mode of self-expression but I want you to know (and I’ve written it before), you are a really good writer.

    I hope Ma has a good recovery. You and Jon have done the best that you could and now time will tell. Ma has a lot of people praying for her out here.

  7. Beautifully written, Maria. I think you spoke for many of us about how fear can keep us from doing things we want to do. Why do we sometimes think “doing the best we can” isn’t good enough? Rooting for Ma – knowing that whatever the outcome, you and Jon “did the best you could.” And that is more than enough.


  8. Dear Maria,

    I think you & Jon made an educated timely decision and I’m certain Ma will heal up nicely. I read your post twice, wondering what I was identifying with??? Ah, second guessing myself! I can relate to the hesitating, see-saw thinking. I am a recovering alcoholic (2/22/02)and I found myself at a loss so many times young in my sobriety…things I did spontaneously in the past(when I was drinking) had become agonizing, fearful decisions and responsibilities to me in my sobriety. I no longer trusted my instincts and felt that I was incapable of making the right choices, you see I no longer trusted myself! It has taken many years but I recognize that behavior now. I am gentle with myself and love myself through the process of making decisions now. I am smart, beautiful, loving and my stomach/heart/mind can be trusted. Myself and my decisions are “worthy of”. I love reading your posts and enjoy your artistic expression – thanks for sharing Maria.

    P.S. I don’t mind if you share this post! :0)

    1. Thanks for your comment Sandra, I only learned to begin to trust myself and my decisions when I got into my 40’s. It wasn’t easy, but like you I learned and I’m still learning.

  9. One time my cat Lucy was bitten in the butt by a mean stray cat who came inside our house while I was sweeping with the door open. I didn’t know about the bites and thought Lucy had been raped and was just understandably upset. I monitored her carefully throughout the evening and tried to comfort her. By the next morning, her bites were infected and we very nearly lost her. She had to spend several days at the vet and I felt awful. It’s so hard to know what to do. My Lucy lived many years after that, thank goodness, and I think Ma will, too. Bless you for taking such good care of your animals.

  10. Maria (and Jon, of course)
    Thinking about Ma and sending healing thoughts across the miles. Anyone with animals knows that anything can happen and sometimes it is just a random act that one cannot prevent or control. Hoping Ma is feeling improved and that her wounds are healing. It is a stressful time when one of our animals is in distress, I know it all too well.

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