Thursday, March 20, 2014

Saying goodbye to Sweetums

When we moved into our house in the country in 2007, I had a dream to have a pet cow. A family milk cow. Wouldn't milking a cow be fun? Yes, of course it would be. So when we got a call a few weeks later that we could come pick up a 1 week old Jersey, obviously the stars had aligned and it was in the Good Lord's plans for us to have my dream come true. We named her Sweetums, brought her to our home, and she became the symbol of my evolution as a country girl. That was 7 years ago. So much has happened in that time. We bottle fed her, and raised her as our pet. We bought her a few goats to be her herd. We watched all the antics that herd provided us with. We went through several attempts to get her pregnant, finally she became pregnant and sadly, her calf died in our pasture. We got her another calf that day and she raised him as her own. We milked her for months. Time came for her to get pregnant again. This time she had a beautiful heifer named Maxine. We milked Sweetums again for months, and took Maxine to the fair for Esther to show her. Time came for Sweetums to get pregnant again. This time, she had a boy. She has the most beautiful calves. They look like little deer. She was again, for the 3rd time, an excellent mother. Nurturing, caring, attentive.

Its now been a month since her baby was born. Sweetums has suffered some sort of injury while we were away on vacation. Its been a week almost that we have been nursing her back to health. It doesn't appear she is making progress. The vet says she is healthy, so it's probably nerve damage that is causing her to be unable to get up on her own. She doesn't appear to be in pain. She eats and drinks, and even licks her baby when he comes over to her to nuzzle her.

Hard to watch. Hard to see a dream die. Hard to feel this way when death is inevitable in life.

We've had her in our pasture in front of our house for 7 years. I don't think I have driven into my driveway one time without looking for her. She is a permanent fixture of our home. For 7 years, she has filled our life with stories. This blog was started to tell those stories. So much time and effort and money and work and heartache and joy have been wrapped up in her life with us. It's hard to explain how a Jersey cow can mean so much to a family. I'm struggling to find the right way to express it.

The expression, "All I ever really needed to know, I learned from my dog" comes to mind... The experiment of Sweetums.... the unbelievalbe roller coaster of events we've gone through with having her in our life... has taught me so many things I don't think I could recount them all. I know that she's made my first 7 years in the country richer, and I can't thank her enough for that. Honestly, she's changed me.

It hurts to say goodbye when you aren't angry or upset. It hurts deeply. I don't want to look out front and not see the peaceful sight of a cow grazing...taking very slow steps as they nibble grass....tail swishing every few minutes....the occasional moo...its something I have watched for the past 7 years, and soon, the pasture will be empty. Just fences and gates and a pond....and if they could talk, they'd tell you wonderful stories.

We fear those stories are over now. I think it's time to let her go on to another pasture, a much greener one, where she can graze peacefully again.