Allowing Nature to Happen

Jake and
Jake and Deb with Ma this morning after some vitamins and bottle milk

Yesterday I watched a bee struggling in a spider web.  My first thought was to free it, but then seeing the spider making its way to the bee, I decided to walk away.  I felt it wasn’t my place to interfere.  Just a few minutes ago I sat at my sewing machine and saw Minnie stalking an unsuspecting chipmunk.  I thought to get up and chase Minnie away, but didn’t.  Minnie ran faster than I’ve seen her move since she had her back leg amputated, then they were out of my sight, under the lilac bush.  I went out a few minutes later and saw that the chipmunk got away.

If I “rescued’ the bee from the spider’s web, the spider wouldn’t eat until it was able to snare another insect.   If I chased Minnie away from the chipmunk, Minnie would still be fine, she actually doesn’t need to be eating any more than we feed her.  But in both instances I decided not to interfere. That it wasn’t my place to become involved.  It’s the most natural thing in the world for a spider to snare a bug and for a cat to chase a chipmunk.  There’s something reassuring, to me,  in allowing the natural world to go on around me and to sometimes  just bear witness to it instead of trying to control it.

This morning, when Jon and I went into the pasture and saw that Jake, the little white twin to Deb, was laying on the ground alone and  not moving  I instinctively scooped him up and held him against me.  He didn’t struggle to get down, as any of the lambs normally would. He actually rested his head on me as if it was a comfort.  All the sheep had moved away from him.  From time to time Ma (his mother) would call out to him, but he couldn’t respond.  Then the donkeys started to come around, sniffing him, as if trying to understand, trying to get the story.  We were sure he was dying.  He lay limp in my arms, his eyes mostly closed, his gums and eye lids pale.  At that point the question in my mind was not how to save him, but how to help him die with the least amount of suffering.

And this is where the decisions of how much to do and how much to allow to happen come in.  The thought of calling the vet to put him down crossed my mind, but he seemed so close to the end we thought he wouldn’t live long.   It was Jon’s idea to give what we had a try.  So he got out the lamb vitamins and  Penicillin and I mixed up a batch of sheep’s milk.  Jon gave him the shots and to my astonishment, he drank hungrily from the bottle.  This time when I put him on the ground, he stood up and on shaky legs wobbled over to Ma and Deb.  Then the three of them made their way to the pole barn with Deb laying down next to Jake.

We decided at this point to allow what would happen to happen.  Jon and I both felt that we had done everything a vet would have.  And even if they had more  treatment options, we wouldn’t want to pursue them.  It was time for us to  step back and allow Jake’s body to heal or not.

It was interesting that without much discussion, Jon and I both agreed that we didn’t want to call the vet. We both somehow understood how far we were willing to go, how much we were willing to do.  And for me, it was not so much an intellectual decision, but a feeling.   The feeling that no matter the outcome, this was the right thing for us to do.

And I’m happy to say that on last checking on Jake he was up and walking around.  He even tried to run from me when I tried to pick him up to  feed him more milk.  After drinking a good amount,  he eliminated (another good sign)  then for the first time since finding him this morning, he answered Ma’s call and joined her and Deb who were grazing in the pasture.  So we’ll keep an eye on him and see how it goes.  So far, I’m glad to say, it seems to be going well.


9 thoughts on “Allowing Nature to Happen

  1. What a wonderful story of insight and unity between you and Jon during a farm crisis. Sometimes intuition is better than reasoning. Annie

  2. I always remember Jon’s story (from years ago, I think), about “rescuing” a valiant little mouse that was struggling to get a dog biscuit through a hole in a wall at the “old” Bedlam Farm. Jon decided the mouse was worth saving so he picked it up, took it out to the field, let it go, and then had to watch as Mother the barn cat swooped in and caught it.

    I, too, have learned that Mother Nature knows best — or at least more than I do.

  3. Your instinct to comfort is such a beautiful thing. Wishing continued strength and healing for little Jake.

  4. As always, Maria, so beautifully written, so heartfelt. I hope things go well for little Jake, that the improvement continues. I hope you and Jon don’t get too bogged down by the thoughtless “help and advice” begin offered during your difficult time. When I read Jon’s blog and he said you weren’t going to call the vet I could almost feel the vibrations of outraged readers running to their computers to respond.

    I have learned so much from reading Jon’s blog, and now yours, in regard to caring for animals other than pets. I have only the greatest admiration for you and Jon and the way you deal with all that care entails.

    Whatever the outcome, Jake has been so lucky to be cared for by you and Jon. And I sense that despite what happens, you and Jon will always be grateful for having Jake.

    Keep well.

    Althea J

  5. Dear sweet Maria ,

    You and Jon are doing an incredible service for those of us who read your blogs–and we now spread some of them around widely to friends and family.

    You take the time to inform us so much about life and death as mirrored in the animal world (and we are animals too, but often this is forgotten)

    Farmers and even sometimes mere pet owners like myself–who lived on a farm as a young child but have forgotten much of it–are next door to life beginning and life ending in every kind of way. It is a part of the human condition and we can’t always play God.

    Thank you for still sharing your life in its ugly patches as well as it’s blissful ones.

    I hope that you will never shut down your blogs however raw and hurt you sometimes feel, hurt by strangers or by the struggles of your own loved animals.

    Yes. I am praying for you both in my own cack-handed way, hoping that you can maintain the courage and honesty of your blogs and teach your caring and humility to the rest of us.

  6. I know nothing about caring for animals on a farm except for what I have read on your and Jon’s blogs. I do know that there is a natural order to things…Law of the to speak. Tough decisions. Peace to you and Jon.

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