I had Molly in the bath at 7:30 p.m. Do you realize how early that is? That’s early enough to sit down with a cup of tea before I crumple into a pile of sleep at 10 p.m.
I was SO EGGCITED to get my kettlin’ on when I ventured out into the field in my PJs to put my baby goats to bed and … Oh. What’s this? Oh. It’s a goat kid with a Hannibal Lecter mask on. Awesome.
My little doeling is still going through a painful dehorning process (because I effed up the original process when she was three weeks old, fyi). She is down to half a horn and one bloody nubbin above her head. That’s because a couple of days ago she got in a fight with her brothers, who knocked her banded horn off before it was ready to fall off on its own. Like a loose tooth. On top of your head. With a major artery running through it.
So of course she choose this particularly sensitive moment to stick her fat head down into a wire egg basket that Molly left in the field. And of course it was pinned on her sensitive, bloody horn. Of course it was.
Have you ever tried to get a wire egg basket off a goat’s bloody head by the light of a full harvest moon?
Why am I not surprised.
It was a delicate operation. Every time I freed the basket from one horn, she would flip her shit and escape from my grasp, bang her head into the wall, cry out in pain and get it stuck over her horn again. This went on for way longer than it should have. It was like one of those wooden mind puzzles that grandpa used to have lying around the house at Christmas. There was just no physical way that she could have gotten the basket wedged like that in the first place—let alone any time/special/dimension /angle that it could be safely removed. I tried to cut the handle off, but the damned antique relic was hard as hell for a contraption designed to carry eggshells, and I knew there was no way I could hold the bolt cutters with two hands AND keep a freaked out goat pinned between my knees without someone’s eye being gouged.
So, there I was. Bloody, screaming goat on the verge of a heart attack in hand; burrowing that wire handle down on her sore horn deeper with each passing second.
It was time to phone a friend.
I knew that I would have to take the goat up to the house and get Seth’s assistance — and I knew that it was going to be a long trip up there. If a freaked out goat slips out of your grasp, it’s a guaranteed two-hour minimum until you get her back in your possession. My tea was already lukewarm as it was.
So I gathered my courage, and picked up the 60 (600???) lbs. doeling and prepared mentally to ride her like a bleeding miniature bull all the way up to the house. I was not letting go.
The doeling, as anticipated, began thrashing wildly, and I am not clear as to exactly what occurred in the next few seconds. The goat threw her head back hard, stabbing me with her bloody stump of a horn right in my kisser (I can’t say I blame her, honestly) and I know there was kicking, blood and screaming. When the dust settled, we were both on the ground—and the basket had popped off and was on the ground next to me.
Maybe it was never stuck on her in the first place and this was all my imagination.
Actually, I’m 100 percent sure that by that point, Jesus took the wheel. He had grown tired of my charade.
Beaten, I returned home to get some antibiotics. Then Seth said I could not come to bed covered in goat blood. I had to re-shower. And all that time I wasted on the first one.
So some apology grain, a shot of Pen G and a little nighttime wound cleaning and now it’s time for bed.
I cannot wait until these new goat babies arrive, and I can redeem myself by dehorning them with a burn so steady that they’ll not have to worry about getting their bloody stumps stuck on anything. Even antique wire baskets made of some type of titanium.
I am so so sorry to the animals that I am learning on.
I’ve learned that with livestock, it is all tough love. You go in there thinking you are going to Horse Whisper your way into an animal’s heart. You’ll calm it down by the sound of your voice. You’ll remind it that you pulled it from its mother’s womb and that your purpose in life is to try your best to keep it from fear and from pain.
That ain’t how it goes.
You rip the damned basket off its head, you shoot it full of Penicillin G as quick as you can and you get the hell back to your decaf chai green tea.
Each minute you are out there trying to teach it Lamaze is one more minute closer to the brink of a human-triggered panic attack for the animal.
I am so sorry to the animals I am learning on.
Can you hear me out there, little doeling?
I am sorry. I am so so sorry.
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