Good Bye Scotty

Scotty died Saturday morning. I thought he was doing well until a few days ago.

That’s when I saw that he had a small patch of wool missing from his leg.  Two days later there was wool missing from his tail.  I put antibiotic ointment on it and wormed him.

But there were other indications that he wasn’t well.

Suddenly his posture was hunched and he seemed even more bony and weak.  Although he was a different breed than the two Romney lambs, Merricat and Constance, they have at least an inch of wool on them and his wool didn’t seem to be growing.

Jon and I talked about calling the Vet on Monday, but even on Friday afternoon, I didn’t have much hope for him. I’m not into prolonging a sheep’s life if they can’t recover fully and live naturally.  And  I’ve been around my sheep long enough to know when something is seriously wrong with them.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Scotty wasn’t at the gate on Saturday morning with the other animals. I had a feeling and was almost expecting that he wouldn’t make it through the night.

When I saw him laying on his side in the pole barn, barely breathing, I kneeled down next to him and placed my hand on his body.  I told him that soon it would all be okay, it would be over.  Then I covered him with a blanket I had in the barn.  I didn’t think he wasn’t feeling the cold anymore, but  I hoped there would be some comfort in it for him.

He was so close to death, the only thing to do was to help him along.  So I went back to the house and told Jon who got the rifle.  I’m always grateful that Jon is willing to take over when it comes to euthanizing one of my sheep.

A few minutes after Jon fired one bullet, Scotty died.

I put him on a plastic sled and took him into the woods.  It was 16 below zero, but I hadn’t felt the cold till I started walking back to the farm.  And it was only when I was in the warm house, that I cried.

Scotty’s life was supposed to be even shorter than it was.  He was supposed to go to market, but Liz who gave him to me, just couldn’t send him. She saw something special in him.  That’s why he came to live at Bedlam Farm.

From the first time I put up a picture of Scotty on my blog, people emailed me that he was too skinny.  It was as if I didn’t know he was skinny and wasn’t doing everything for him I thought necessary.  I suppose they thought they were being helpful.  But they weren’t.  And that makes writing this even harder than usual.

Everyone cares for their animals in their own way.  I feel good about the life I gave Scotty, short as it was.

Scotty was the most unusual sheep.  He was curious and friendly, awkward and oblivious.  He was the strangest sheep I’ve ever had.  It was almost as if he inhabited a different reality.  Like he was a spirit who didn’t really belong here.

I suppose that’s why I loved him so much.

There’s an ache inside my chest when I think of Scotty, but I find I’m smiling too.

14 thoughts on “Good Bye Scotty

  1. Oh Maria, you were meant to have him. Who else could see his spirit like you. I am so happy you found each other. Thank you so much for honoring my Scott and naming him Scotty so I could have the happiness and joy of seeing your life with Scotty every day. It helped me during my horrible loss and grief to see that lamb follow you around, nuzzle you, and escape from your paddock right behind you! I am so sorry Maria. I know the pain. He will always be with you, and love you as you love him. He was a special lamb, this is for sure and he was yours.

  2. I’ve tucked the memory of Scotty under my warm nap blankets with me. When I get up he will have gone on his way. It will be a safe journey for him. ❤

  3. Scotty’s life may have been short but it was a good life and in the end you, and Jon, were able to give him the greatest gift.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss of Scotty. It is obvious that he was well taken care of and well loved. What more could any of us want.

  5. I was so sorry to hear about Scotty. You take such good care of your animals so I’m sure he had the best life he could have had as short as it was. It always leaves a hole in your heart especially when you are as connected to them as you are. Sending you hugs.

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss Maria.
    Anyone who has come to know you through your posts and podcasts knows how much you love all of your animals – even the aquatic ones. 😉

    My heart goes out to you, it is always hard to lose an animal even if they are not a “pet” in the domesticated cat and dog sense.

  7. I doubt there is a farm animal anywhere that has had a better life than those you tend, Maria.
    Scotty was fortunate to have such a compassionate caretaker. You gave him the best individualized attention.
    I’m sure he felt an “Oh boy!” moment every time he got the special grain treat.
    You gave your best.

  8. Maria, What I like about your blog and Jon’s is that you are both, to me, appear to be honest in your feelings. I know you have many readers as does Jon, and that not everyone has experienced the reality of living in the country or on a small farm holding as you are doing now. Having animals on a farm is a whole lot different than the concept of them living on a farm. The reality is, when they get sick, if they can’t be cured, they need to be put down. That isn’t easy for the caregivers of such animals…though I know farmers get hardened pretty early to this reality, or if you’ve grown up on a farm, you get more detached to animals living there. You can’t get emotionally involved with them if you are a farmer. But a smallholding farmer, I think you can’t help but get emotionally involved with them in caring for them. They are more like pets, they are part of you and I hope in being honest about what goes on there at ‘bedlam farm’ others will understand, it is not easy loosing an animal or having to put it down. We humans are kinder to animals in the throes of pain and dying then we are to humans…a conflicting problem..I know.
    Sandy Proudfoot

  9. I loved watching your videos of Scotty, following you into the barn, for his grain. It was if he were a puppy, ears flopping as he ran, instead of a lamb. It was the most adorable thing to see.
    You gave him such a sweet life, in the short time he was with you. I could feel the joy, that he brought to you, and I now am feeling your pain……
    Thank you, Maria, for sharing both of your feelings, with us.
    Go in peace, Scotty.

  10. Maria: I’m so sorry about Scotty. After I sent you that wacky naming narrative for him based on the gigantic old painting of a sacrificial lamb (the Ghent Altarpiece), I was so glad to see him named something sweet like Scotty (and it was a beautiful tribute). It was always a joy to see him eating his grain, ambling about the farm, and seeming to thrive there. He had a lovely life with you, and you were a great human caretaker to him. I wish you, as you say, ongoing ‘balance’ there. The farm seems to have an almost magical way of replenishing and rebalancing. I know it springs from you and Jon, and the ‘magic’ that is your daily hard work and creative energy. May it continue always. #RIP, Scotty – Kim

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