Most of you will remember our sweet girl Lucy. 💜
Lucy was born around the end of March. She wasn’t able to walk. Steve had to hold her up, and bottle feed her. Lucy had such tenacity and will to fight. Over the last 6+ weeks Steve kept a close eye on her. He had a real soft spot for this sweet calf that fought like crazy, celebrating the smallest of achievements. After having our vet Rebecca assess & treat her a couple of times, as well as consult other veterinarians, it was determined that Lucy had a very severe case of contracted tendons.
Lucy was able to get up and around for short intervals. She didn’t seem able to do much with her front two legs if at all, and had built some crazy strong muscles in her hind legs. Lucy was able to eat, and gain weight and looked like a normal, healthy calf while laying down. The problem was she was always laying down. When Lucy would get up and move even just a little, she would be quite winded.
Steve has always said he would never let an animal suffer, and on the flip side if an animal has the will and desire to fight then he will always fight for them too. I have said it lot’s of times before, as much as this is a business, it is also our life. We live and breath it every single day, and while the wins are a high point, the losses are felt deeply.
During herd health day on Friday, we asked Rebecca, who being the wonderful veterinarian that she is, had already planned to check in on Lucy. Steve knew what was coming, and as always they were great at being honest with him. Lucy wasn’t going to get any better then her current state. Her front legs had become pretty “bowed”, and quite “crossed”, and she supported ALL of her weight on her hind legs. While the original diagnosis was contracted tendons, which calves do often grow out of, Lucy had exceeded the time in which she should have grown out of it. Her hind legs were quite strong, however as she continued to gain weight, she would not be able to support herself in standing, or moving about. She would never be able to wander around the pasture fields each day, get up to drink water and eat, or have a calf of her own when it was time. So with no quality of life for Lucy, Steve did what only he could do, and asked the vets to bring closure to her life.
Farmers deal with life and death everyday. It certainly doesn't make it easy, it just makes it a reality. While sometimes faulted for this lifestyle of choice, he will always put the animal first regardless of the bottom line, and look out for their best interests and quality of life while here with us. He feels each loss, but in this lifestyle you have to pick up and carry on.
So he said his goodbye, shed a tear, and went about his day. He was quieter then usual, we didn’t talk about it, and at the end of the day all he could say was “well that sucked”. You can’t put so much effort into these animals and not get attached. As we constantly remind ourselves at the end of the day it is a business, but it’s also our life too and you can’t help the personal connection and emotion that takes place. We take away the knowledge we gained from having Lucy, and add it to the mulitude of experiences gained thus far. We remember each high and low, equipping us with the compassion and drive to continue on.