Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Rescuers: Goat Edition

So....yesterday I told y'all about the goats and how they came to be. Today, I'm going to tell you of their latest adventure. And mine. But first I just need to tell you about my favorite part of adopting them that I forgot about yesterday. I'm not sure how I left this part out, but when we went to pick them up....they had signs on the doors of their stalls that said "waiting to go home". Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard! It made me cry. For real. Bobby just looked at me, shook his head and told me to pull it together. But they'd finally found their home! And they were so excited that they were waiting for their family. Okay, they probably weren't that overly excited about it but I was. Aside from actually bringing them home, that was my favorite part. And I love that those rescue workers took the time to put something like that with each one that found a home!

Anyway, back to the goats.

I love animals. It's well known and documented and isn't really big news. But one of the most frequently asked questions I get is why I didn't become a veterinarian. With someone that loves animals as much as me, it seems like the obvious choice. And my answer to that would be a few things. One, I can't handle the needles or the blood. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Two, I don't like to see them hurting. I start crying. I'm basically a hot mess. Even shots are too much for me. Their little yelps just break my heart. So, needless to say, I'm not good at administering the shots, either. When I worked at the shelter I had to have lessons on giving shots, and it took four other coworkers in the room with me. One cat, I got the needle half way in and she freaked out, and I started yelling "she doesn't like this!" and just threw my hands up and walked away. After it was all over, my boss was like "so constructive criticism...I know she doesn't like it...but she also doesn't like the needle left hanging half out of her and the shot not even given...so next time maybe....in or out if you're gonna walk away". Mk. Well solid point, Michelle. Actually really good point. Dually noted.  And finally, I don't handle death well. And I think that it's pretty safe to say that when you go to put your animal to sleep or they pass away, that you are already struggling enough with the difficult time. You probably don't need your vet curled up in a ball on top of the animal in a fetal position screaming "I'm sorry I couldn't do more". Yeah. Probably not the best course of action.

Therefore, no vet school for me.

But recently, the goats got an infection in their hooves. I was pretty much appalled when I realized this but apparently it's pretty common. Our vet said it's like athlete's foot for humans. But like anything else, it's an infection and when it goes untreated it gets worse.  We didn't realize they had it until last week during Dove season. Every year for Dove season my dad's best friend from college comes to stay for the week. His name is Chico and he is legitimately one of my Top 5 favorite people ever. I don't quite know how to describe his greatness other than he just gets it. He listens more than he speaks (I could take a lesson or two) and he can read people like no one I've ever seen. He's around someone 60 seconds and he knows whether they are a good egg or not. But if he isn't a fan of someone, you'd never know. He just minds his own. He gives great advice. And he's also hysterical.

One day last week he and Big Mike were making their rounds around the farm to check everything out. They were checking on the cattle and the goats when they noticed that the goats were walking funny. One was limping and the other was walking on his knees. So, obviously something was wrong. Dad called the vet first thing and described the situation. Doc immediately knew the problem, said it was obviously uncomfortable for them, but fairly common. They get it from standing in cool, damp areas a lot where bacteria sits (their urine) and when their feet aren't allowed to dry enough it gets infected. They both needed a shot and they should be good to go.

This all sounds pretty easy, but I knew immediately not to be fooled. The goats roam with the cattle. They have a fairly large pasture that they have free rein of and before they could be given the shots they needed to be confined to a smaller area. Wednesday night, Dad told me to be at the farm at 9:30 Thursday morning. We had a dove hunt that afternoon and needed to be there in time for lunch, but we'd go get them around 10, get them to the smaller lot and be on our merry way. No problem, he says. Sure.

Thursday morning I get out to the farm. Dad, his bestie Greg and Chico, of course, are already there and immersed in some conversation that I have no clue about. Chico lamented that I was on time for once. He should have known the injured animal would be enough motivation for me, and that they should try telling me there is a needy animal in every location they need to be at on time. See. He's a joker. I got bored with their conversation pretty quickly. Boy talk. So, naturally I started playing Candy Crush on my phone. I was deep into a game on level 147, which is my arch nemesis.  I've been stuck on it all summer. ALL FREAKING SUMMER. Hate that level. All of the sudden I hear Big Mike inform me I need to get my "nose out of that damn phone. We have things to do and he's not waiting on my ass". I look at him somewhat confused, and tell him I've been ready for 15 minutes and he was telling a story. "Well, I'm ready now, damn it. Let's go."

This should be fun.

We start to walk to the vehicles and Chico, ever the voice of reason, say, "shouldn't we maybe have a game plan?" Oh, that's a novel idea, Mikey thinks. His plan is that he and Greg will ride in the Ranger and Chico and I will follow on the four wheeler which has the wagon attached to the back of it. Dad and I each have a lead and we will each get a goat and lead them to Chico in the goat ambulance, who will then drive them up the hill to the lot they need to go to. He says, "it will only take a minute and we will be on our way". Fine. Everyone load up.

I get on the back of four wheeler and I look at Chico and say, "something tells me this won't take just a minute. He should have never said that". Chico just shook his head, chuckled and said, "yeah, this is going to be bad. "

Everyone takes off and we get to the cattle lot. We first have to find the goats. We don't know if they are at the top or the bottom of the hill. Dad first goes into the small lot with the wishful thinking that they are already at the top of the hill and no goat chasing will have to be made. No such luck. However, he and Greg did decide to take us through a few bumpy areas which prompted Chico to ask, "they do remember we are pulling a trailer right?"

We head on down to the bottom of the hill and Chico says to me, "so....what if the goat won't come to you? I feel like flip flops probably aren't the best choice of foot wear for you to chase a goat in". Good point, buddy. Solid point.  But ever the constant supporter, he says, "don't worry I'll make sure to follow you with the goat ambulance, plus, if you can't outrun a goat walking on his knees then you've got bigger problems." I said, "you aren't going to help me catch them?" He laughed. He laughed a lot. And said no, he's just the goat ambulance driver, I'm the paramedic.

The goats were easily spotted at the bottom of the hill laying next to the water tank. Dad directs Greg to get out of the ranger, me to get in, and Chico to be on standby to come when he's told. Dad goes in the Ranger every day to fill the water tank so they are used to it. He was hoping he'd pull up and they'd just ignore it. Which they did. Excellent job, Mikey. The only slight malfunction was that when I tried to get the lead on Timmy, Gus immediately started dry humping him. I knocked him off of him and he kindly took his left horn to my vagina bone. And people wonder why he got kicked out of the Barn Buddies program. All I heard was Chico laugh and say "this is great".

Anywho, Dad takes Gus, I take Timmy. In the meantime, dad starts directing Greg and Chico with what to do. Except he just throws his hand in one direction or the other and expects you to get what he wants you to do. I mean, afterall, that's all he has to tell his prized and elaborately trained hunting dog, Bandit, so surely it will work on the humans too. So, Chico drove the ambulance in a small circle and got some more hand throwing from dad and came back around to where he needed to be. Or, as dad put it, he guessed it would do.

Now, I didn't mention this earlier but Gus is the one in better shape out of the two. Timmy is the one that was walking on his knees. So, essentially, I got the one that needs to be carried. So, naturally, dad and Gus load up right away. No problems, no hesitation. Gussy is unusually well behaved and he and dad take a seat on the bench in the back of the trailer. I have no idea where that seat came from but it worked out for dad and Gus at the time. Meanwhile, I'm still back at the water tank trying to get Timmy a good 50 feet from where he's at. Have you ever tried to move a hundred pound goat that doesn't want to move? It's about as hard as it sounds. He also has horns. So picking him up and carrying him wasn't really an ideal option unless I wanted a horn to the temple.

I was trying to be gentle with him. I knew he was in discomfort and probably the last thing he wanted to do was load into the back of a weird trailer. He was walking on his knees anyway, so upsetting his gravity some more was probably not his idea of a good time. About that time dad pipes up. We had gotten along so well up until that point. So well. But as with any Weller adventure, that can only last so long. He starts shouting at me from the back of the trailer that I need to get a move on. There is no gentle about it, the goat needs loaded up. There is no room for babying. Seriously, is he trying to make a play on the "there is no crying in baseball" thing? Cause I wasn't impressed. I told him that he was hurting, I wasn't going to yank him. Plus, I was pulling as hard as I could without it choking him. He pipes back "if he chokes, he chokes, he'll get up on the trailer faster". Now.....he didn't actually mean that. He wouldn't have choked the goat any more than me. But things weren't moving at his pace so he got to sassin. Well, I don't get my sass from nowhere so at that I screamed that if he could do such a good job to come do it himself. Then he shouted, "Greg! Go help her".

Timmy started moving then. I think he knew things were going south. Greg was told he could stand down and Timmy and I made it to the trailer. He still wasn't a fan of the step up though, so Greg held the horns and I lifted him on the trailer.

Some of you might be wondering where Chico went or if he had any commentary. No. He was still sitting on the four wheeler staring dead ahead. He's not stupid. He stayed as removed from the situation as possible and said nothing. Just listening.

We got everyone loaded and we were off to the small lot. Chico did a couple of crazy eights in the pasture after some good directions again from dad, and finally we made it to our destination at the top of the hill. Everyone unloaded fine, went in the pen fine, and got some treats while we checked out their feet. Everyone was happy.

That's when Mikey thought he needed to go get ballsy. He decides that, hey, we've got some time. Why doesn't he just run on down to the vet's office, show Doc the pictures of the hooves to make sure it's what he thought it was, get the shots, and come on back and we can give them the injections ourselves. You know, I was thinking the same thing. Why don't we do that. Remember when I said I don't do needles? And I don't do animals in pain.

Let the good times roll.

He leaves us at the pond, makes his trip to the vet and comes back about 15 minutes later with two of the biggest syringes I've seen in my life. The only thing I've seen that came close was the needle they used to numb up my sister in law's kitty cat when she was about to shuck my niece out of her who-ha. Yeah. This just went way south and I am not excited about it.

Again, we all load up. Chico's driving services weren't needed now that the ambulance had safely delivered it's passengers to their pen, so I asked if he was staying or going. He scoffed at me. Scoffed! And said, "I'm pretty sure I'm not going to miss this show". On the drive to the top of the hill, Chico says, "you know, I knew this was much easier than it should have been. Had I thought their condition was critical, I would have just made the executive decision as the ambulance driver to go right instead of left and go straight to the vet's office, but they'll be fine. This will be entertainment."

This was going to be bad. Real bad.

The plan was Greg would hold the horns, I was to deliver as many treats as possible and dad would inject the antibiotic in their neck, and Chico would supervise. Chico always has been the smart one.

It just played out that Gus got his shot first. Mistake. Remember when I said he got kicked out of the Barn Buddies program for butting people with his horns? Yeah, well he hasn't forgotten that trick and still likes to do it for fun or, you know, when someone injects a pint of burning liquid into his neck.

Gus did not like the shot. He didn't like the shot at all. He rared up on his back legs and was bawling. He just kept bawling and it wouldn't stop...it seemed like hours of him just crying out. Then I wanted to start crying, I knew it hurt him but it was the only way to make it better. He didn't so much care about the treats anymore, he was more or less just bucking around like a rabid stallion. And he. was. ticked. I've never had that shot before. Tetracycline or something....I think it would probably kill a midget, I don't know. But, it was awfully brown and looked less than ideal for the human digestion system. But I got the impression that it burned. It burned a lot. Gussy was not a fan. Just ask him. Or my left butt cheek. He got through his bucking and bawling and then he wanted a piece of somebody.

Anybody would do.

You would think that given that I had the treats and not the needle that I would be safe. Not so much. Ole' boy came at me with a purpose. He was getting somebody with those horns and he was going to feel better about it. Greg tried to get in front of me. And then quickly got out of the way again. I can't really blame him. He's got some tender parts in front. I wouldn't voluntarily put my lady bits in harms way, so I don't expect him to either. Luckily, there was a water trough right behind me, so when Gus decided to knock my ghetto butt down, he basically sat me right down like a chair, only I got a little air before I actually hit. What was that dog's name that could make baskets? Airbud? I felt like him.  But I couldn't get any farther away from the situation once my airbud fizzled out. The treat bag fell out of my hand and scattered everywhere and I hear my dad go "the treats! He wants some treats!" Really, bud? That's your advice right now? My ass just got served, by a goat no less, and he's showing no signs of being done with his little tantrum and your advice is to pick up the treats and throw a couple his way. You got it bud. Right on it.

At one point I did fall backwards too, but guess who caught me? Chico. Put a little hand out and caught my shoulders. Hey, thanks for having my back buddy, I couldn't have made it through this debacle without you.

All and all I was pretty much fine. The only blood was on my ankle where it got caught between the water trough and the wall. Aside from that, my left butt cheek was bruised for a spell or two from where Gus made direct contact twice. You ever had a horn to the buttocks? It. Feels. Fabulous.

After Psycho calmed down everyone realized there was still another shot to be given and it was for the one that needed it the most. Chico: "well this outta be good. Now he really wants a piece of you and he'll get you while you're distracted with the other goat". Hey, Chico, you want to take my spot? Nope, I'm good, he says.

Ole' Timmy took it like a champ. I don't even think he knew what had happened. At first he just kept shaking his head but he shook it off like a stud. He didn't act like the idiot that Gus did when he resembled a dying sea lion in a fight with a sea horse. I gave him some treats and he was cool as a cucumber. And naturally, Gus wanted a few then, too.

I often wonder how I get myself in situations like this. But I've come to realize I come by it naturally. If I didn't, there's no way that out of the treat giver, the horn holder, the injector, and the supervisor, that I was the one that ended up in the water trough with the assistance of a goat.

On the way back to the pond, I told Chico of how they suggested Gus and Timmy be adopted together, so that Gus could give Timmy a little more confidence. I said I thought it had worked but that Timmy was still as sweet as could be. He was more comfortable with humans now, but he rarely got upset or got an attitude, he'd let you do whatever and he was cool about it. I told him of Gus' Barn Buddies days and that he was basically known for being as ass hole. His only response was, "I can see it".

On the bright side, Chico says that he can now check "goat ambulance driver" off his bucket list and I can check "goat paramedic" off mine. But for today, the goat ambulance has been parked until further notice.

Well, thank you Jesus.

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