Archive for the ‘Colin’ Category

An Update…

Thank you all so much for your supportive and helpful comments on the recent mauling incident here. I wanted to give you a quick update on the boys:

So far, everyone is healing slowly but continually. There are a few puncture wounds I am keeping a very close eye on. Most wounds are healing…or at least the physical wounds are healing. I’m not sure if the boys minds will ever heal mentally from this attack.

Sven’s eye is making good progress. I thought at first he had lost the whole eye, but upon closer inspection by the vet, it was the upper lid itself that was damaged. I have ointment to place in the eye a few times a day. At first Sven, well…all the boys really, did not fight my fussing over them. They stood patiently while I bathed wounds and dressed them, or wrapped hot, moist towels around sore legs with puncture wounds. Now, they try to run or refuse to stand for my efforts. This is a good sign. They are healing and feeling better.

It’s as if they are saying, “It’s OK , Mom. We’re feeling much better. You can go now.” I’ve been dismissed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, I will still watch them very closely. And next week they are due for a second Draxxin injection to be on the safe side. But I can tell it’s time for me to let them be and heal on their own for the most part.

…and I am so very grateful this did not happen during fly season.

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This past Monday, as my DH was off for the holdiay, we decided to have a late lunch in town as well as pick up a needed part for the ’53 Merc he’s working on. We left the wethers and Loki in the pasture area that had been cleared of snow, eating breakfast, and the girls had the run of the area around the barn. Both groups had plenty of hay to nibble on to keep them happy.

But when we came home, we were not prepared for what was going on down towards the barn. Two loose dogs had walked across the fencingย  on the property line we share with the county, on top of the snow, and were attacking the sheep!

I flew down towards the barn to find the boys standing between the dogs and the ewes. Somehow the gate to the corral at the barn was open and they were keeping the dogs from even getting close to the girls. But the price the dogs were extracting from the boys was terrifying.

The first thing was to get the dogs away from the sheep. The larger dog was a black and tan medium dog of maybe 40-45 lbs. That dog saw me and stopped his attack. The smaller dog which looked to me like a cross between a terrier of some sort and some kind of bulldog was still attacking poor Shaun who was struggling, brought down in the mud and melting snow. I had to pull the smaller dog off Shaun, then chased them out the gate to a now waiting husband.

We were lucky in that both dogs had collars with tags and owner’s phone number. Ralph took control of the dogs and calling the owner and 911 while I got the sheep penned inside the barn and started to assess the damages. I ran to the house after penning all the sheep and called our sheeps’ vet, Dr. Rob to come on an emergency. I grabbed B-vitamins, ProBios, towels and some warm water and went straight back the barn to do what I could until Rob got there.

Loki had very little damage – a couple of facial wounds where it looked like one of the dogs might have tried to get him, as well as a superficial gash on one leg. He was the least hurt of all the sheep.

Sven had all the wool from the back of his head and a shoulder torn out by the roots. His ears were both torn but the worst for him was a bite to his right eye. At first I thought the dog had taken his eye completely, but when Rob examined him, he found it to be the lid that was very damaged. We’ll know more when the swelling subsides.

My buddy and rock, Colin, had quite a bit of the wool on his hindquarters torn out and had gashes and puncture wounds to his back legs. He was/is limping as his right hock was nailed pretty well. He, too, had the ears torn a bit and a gash above an eye.

The worst one was Shaun. His wool from the middle of his back to and including his tail was ripped out and he sustained many, many gashes to his haunches. His skin is just raw from all the wool being torn out. Some of the wounds had mud in them from his being downed by the dogs. We got most of the dirt out of the wounds, but Dr. Rob felt it would take time for the body to push the remaining dirt out. It was too deep and would have caused Shaun even more pain to scrub them out.

Both Shaun and Colin were in shock by the time the vet got there.

Had we not gotten home when we did, I’m sure we would have found one or more of the sheep dead, or at the least, way more torn up. I’m certain Shaun would have been dead if I hadn’t gotten to him when I did. Every day since I have been treating each sheep. At first we did massive supportive care with injections of B-vitamins and dosing each with ProBios to support their rumens and keep them from shutting down. Injections of banamine for pain and Draxxin for it’s awesome antibiotic support were given as well.

Right now, the boys have improved to the point of not requiring the banamine but will get another Draxxin injection 14 days after the first one. Draxxin is wonderful and the fact that it works for fourteen days just means less stress for the boys – and me. I still have to watch for wool falling off the sheep due to stress as well as to keep observing the pregnant ewes for signs of stress or abortion of their lambs. I may not know all the answers until April when the girls are due top lamb.

We’re not out of the woods yet, by any means, but I’m hoping that with good supportive care the boys’ bodies will heal. Their mental wounds may not heal so easily. Every time I look into their faces I remember the terror I saw in Shaun’s eyes as I pulled the vicious dog off of him. My mind knows I did all I could for them and there was virtually no way I could have kept loose dogs, walking on top of the 4+ ft. of snow at the fence along the swampy are of the pasture, from walking over the top of the fence onto our property – but my heart is torn over seeing the boys in pain and hurt,…and terrorized. And I am so angry at loose dogs and their owners.

The owner was cited by our animal control officer. On March 8th, he will have to appear in court to please guilty or not guilty. Here in Arizona, the law is on the side of the livestock owner. I really can’t say too much here, for the reason that this will all be decided through the courts. But, I can say that I am so glad we caught the dogs and they had collars with tags on which were active phone and contact information.

The boys are heroes in my eyes. They put themselves between those dogs and the ewes. And I thank God these are Shetlands – sweet, gentle, tough-as-nails Shetlands. And a part of me hopes they gave as good as they got.

This attack did something else as well. No loose dog will be tolerated on this property any longer…ever.

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Colin’s Boo-Boo

This past weekend, the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits was outside doing “manly” things about the place. I had put the wethers in a pen and let the ewes out to graze in the pasture. Since everything and everyone was “doing their own thing”, I thought I would take the opportunity to slip into town for some groceries. After getting back, I was putting the groceries away when the phone rang.
It was the DH calling me from his cell. He was down in the pen with the wethers and said I should come down to look at one of the boys. “Something isn’t right with him.”
Well, when I got down to the barn, the “something not right” was a torn shoulder! It seems that the DH, after handing out treats, thought the wethers would accept him working in their pen on a very windy day even though they had not really seen this guy since before his (the DH’s) surgery. That was months ago. Add in that very windy day and it was enough to spark freaked sheep running into the edges of fence panels. Our oldest wether, Colin, did just that.

As I took a good look at the shoulder, I could see that the skin was torn down to the muscle, but did not actually tear into any of the muscle. It’s flapping about was a signal that sutures were called for. Poor Colin was so upset I knew we’d never be able to hold him still enough for me to do the “evil deed”. After cleansing the wound and getting some sterile dressings on it to keep dirt out, I went in the house to call the vet’s service. Naturally, these things happen on a Sunday.

When the vet’s answering service picked up, I was told that they were instructed not to call him. OK, well, I’ll give you that the operator was young and sounded very inexperienced, but they could have at least told me why the vet was unreachable. Something didn’t sound quite right and very unlike Dr. Rob. Luckily, Rob’s office manager and assistant par excellence lives down the road from us. If Rob was out of town, Kim would know whom I could get to help with the shoulder issue. And…better yet…I know her cell phone number. ๐Ÿ˜‰
As soon as I related what had happened here and before I could even begin to ask her if she knew of any other vet available to work on sheep, Kim offered to call Rob on his cell phone. Within minutes Rob called me telling me to bring Colin into the clinic for mending. Bless his heart! He had just come off the ski slopes on the last day our local ski resort was open.
So, my poor Colin was drugged into a stupor, hoisted onto the surgery table, draped and both sutured and stapled back together again. All the while Rob and I were chatting away about sheep-this and ski-that. Afterward, Rob gave Colin a tetanus booster and a dose of antibiotics. I was about to put Colin back down on the floor when Rob pointed out that one horn was a “bit too close for my liking. How about we trim him a bit while he’s sedated?” Go for it. Great idea. Rob looked him over and did everything but change the oil and filter. ๐Ÿ™‚
Driving back home I thought about how important it is to have a good vet on our “Sheep Thrills Team”. I so appreciate all he does. Granted, this is how he makes a living and we did have a bill for the emergency services, but because we consider Rob and Kim as important members of our operation, they both give us respect as well as much needed help. Somehow, some way, I plan on thanking both of them for “being there”. It’s comforting to know they are there when I need the help – day or night…Sunday or weekday.

…just don’t do it again, Colin. …and why is it you always pick a Sunday to get yourself into these predicaments? It’s cats that have nine lives, Colin…not sheep. You and Ole are working on around your sixth lives about now, so just cut it out, will you? I’ve had way too much excitement lately. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And for those of you who have wondered…yes, here’s the latest photo of my friend, Bran. (pronounced “brawn”) He is indeed here both morning and evenings when I feed, looking for some small treat or just to chat with me. I just wish my “Raven” was as good as his “People”. He is definitely trying to teach me phrases and I try, but I can tell I just don’t have the correct accent yet.

Thanks for being around and watching over me, Bran. It’s always comforting to know you’re here. But, no…I’m sorry…no mice right now. Would a hotdog be OK for now?
…Thanks, buddy!

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Coming back from the barn this morning, I heard what sounded like one of the Mallard ducks with a bad head cold. The voice was deeper and more of a “honk” than a “quack”. It was such a different sound that it made me stop and look up and around at the field behind our place. There, in a small patch of open water, were Canadian Geese! What a treat! (Click on photos to enlarge)
We do get the odd delta formation of these geese through here in the fall. Nothing like the massive migrations we used to see living in Kansas, or up in the Great Lakes when I was a kid. This was a real treat! Poor things must be saying something like, “Gee, Martha, I thought Arizona was going to be warmer than this. I’m all for heading farther south. How does Mexico sound to you?”
I had walked out into the snow in our pasture to try to get a better photo of our visitors. It was still pretty cold but the sun had come up, starting to warm up the earth again. I stood there watching the birds to see if they would stand up for a better picture. It was then I noticed the other beauty in the morning light…the sound of water still running in the stream, the sunlight bouncing off the snow, turning it into a field of glistening diamonds before my feet. As cold as it was, the stream was still running under the snow and ice. It hadn’t frozen up solid.
On my way back towards the house I heard a shuffle from the direction of the barn, then silence. There were the small band of sheep I had just put out for their morning meal. They had all stopped eating and were looking at me. In the hush of the morning I thought I heard our wether Colin saying to the others, “Hey, guys! Guys! Mom’s got a camera with her…everybody look her way and say, ‘Grass’!”

There’s another storm coming tonight, Guys…better get a move on down towards the south.

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