Trying to do the right thing is difficult, especially when the right thing is not the easy thing.
This last week has seen two difficult and ultimately irreversible decisions.
Last Friday Yvonne had Max, her big quarter-Clydie, put down.
Max had been sick for a while. Back in May he lost a lot of weight, but bounced back a bit, but never back to his big, wide “sofa with legs” look. At the beginning of September the problems returned, scouring and weight loss. Testing, treatments followed. Finally, after rounds of probiotics (get gut going again) and anti-biotics (nuke the gut flora, as GI infection was one possible cause) it was clear he was not going to get better. In his last week he lost a lot of weight, it was painful to see the big guy just wasting away.
The insurance company required a PM to determine cause of death, so I got to learn a lot while Julia did the deed. She was nice enough to narrate during the PM. The “good” news is that it was massive cancer throughout the small bowel. That news is “good” because it confirms there was nothing that could be done. I always fear the PM will show that “we could have easily saved him, if only we had done X”.
The second difficult decision was acted upon this morning, when we had Oak put down.
Oak was one of our first alpaca, he and Chris were the first two to arrive seven years ago. Chris sadly died only 9 months later.
We first knew something was wrong with Oak in May 2009, the poor boy was nearly crippled, collapsing to his knees as we tried to move him to the shed. He responded a bit to VitD (though he was not suffering from Rickets). We kept him going with frequent D injections for the last 17 months, but it became more and more clear he was in pain. Best guess (which may yet be confirmed) is a spinal injury, probably when rough-housing with the boys.
The plan to have the new vet come and do an educational post-mortem (she has never opened up a camelid before) fell through when her young son fell suddenly ill. Unfortunately by the time she got in touch with me, Oak was already dead, so it was too late to postpone.
The last 6 months have been tough. Sugar, Cotton, Tessa, Persil, Robin and now Oak. The great irony of it all, is Oak is the only one who we can be sure did not suffer in the end. It was over in an instant, the last he knew he was eating some chaff.
Sometimes, when life is nothing more but pain, death is a kindness. It is a difficult decision to make for an old friend, but in the end I have to think about his welfare above and beyond my feelings.
It is difficult, but it is right.