Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pauladeen-- February 1, 2004-August 17,2008

You know how sometimes things just seem to be so great, like you are finally getting a handle on things, getting on top of it or feeling somewhat in control? And then, wham-mo, when you are least expecting it something you don't want to face just pops up and forces itself on you. That happened today. We noticed Pauladeen was not with the other ewes, but was off by herself, down and uncomfortable looking. When I went to check on her----there it was, the awful prolapse, again. If you have read the accounts of lambing season here this year, you may remember that she prolapsed before lambing and we were able to sew her up and pull her through the lambing. She has prolapsed since then, a couple of times, and we have sewn her up again and yet again. It had gotten to the point where she was worried anytime we came near her. We were hoping that when her lambs were weaned and her hormone levels returned to normal, the problem would be solved. When I saw her this morning, I knew what needed to be done this time. We have tried everything we know to do and nothing is working. So, I made the hard, hard decision to let her go. It's the hardest decision I've had to make in a long while. She was my favorite, my special personality, the one and only Pauladeen. It breaks my heart to know she will not be at the gate to greet me anymore.

This is so strange because a friend of mine and I had just recently had a discussion about how we really didn't get very sentimental about our animals anymore. Both of us have been raising livestock for a long time and know the reality of life on the farm. Bad things happen, often in spite of herculean effects to prevent it. You just have to face facts and move on. And here I am, crying over Pauladeen and wishing, wishing, wishing I had not made the decision to breed her (which may or may not have prevented the prolapse).

Soon, I know I will be able to tell Pauladeen stories again, and not tear up. I have her daughter and she is sweet and personable and has her mom's great fleece. I will not ever breed her, in case she is genetically predisposed to prolapsing. I have Teeny, who is the new clown, funny and sweet, wants to be a constant companion to me. It has just now occurred to me that this post is related to the one just previous. It was not my plan to lose Pauladeen so soon, but there is Teeny waiting in the wings to be the new quirky personality here on the farm.....ready to step into Pauladeen's hoof-prints.
I've had enough life lessons for a while.


  1. Yes, enough lessons. When we first moved here (28 yrs ago) to start a nursery, we got a few chickens, a couple of goats and three or so sheep to keep the grass etc. down while I worked in town and my husband started the nursery. The nursery was slow to grow, but...the animals grew beyond our expectations..eventually, 200 plus sheep, pigs, my Jersey milk cows...almost everything but horses.It was one of the most wonderful things we ever did as a family and for a family..but I have to say that I was never a good farmer when we lost anything..piglet whom I had taken care of by the woodstove, lambs whom we had to tube now and then..on and on. Each time I cried. On the whole we were very successful. I just never learned to deal with the losses well..and yes, the prolapse..stitching it up and the ewe being so stoic through the whole process.
    I still wouldn't trade those years and the gifts that those animals gave to us all as a family, and especially to our two sons during those important years of their adolescence.
    I do love reading about what is going on at your place. Thank you.
    ..and you have my sincere feelings about the loss of Pauladeen.

  2. Okay, I must not be a very good farmer either because here I am crying with you! I think that Pauladeen was somehow a favorite for all of us that heard about her, because she was special to you. You made the compassionate choice, don't beat yourself up about the rest. I think that any creature would be lucky to be in your care. Try to hold close the good memories, and picture her the way she first burrowed into your heart.

  3. Dear Dianne,
    I am so very sorry for your loss...

  4. I must not be a good farmer either, but I take comfort in being in good company with the rest of the "bad" farmers here. I am so sorry.