It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
Monday, November 16, 2009
Brownie, our Nubian Wether, has always been a little bit different. Aside from his anxiety over being "second" goat in the pack and always having to talk his way out of everything, he is the only one of four goats, we brought home as babies, that kept growing HORNS. After they came back for the second time, we decided that we would let the horns grow. Brownie seemed so proud of them that we didn't have the heart to remove them, even though they were going in two different directions.
I always thought they made Brownie a very handsome goat and he thought that he should be the top goat around here just because he had horns and none of the others did. I call him my "show pony" because he likes to pose and is really a beautiful goat. His attitude is another story.
Recently we noticed that the horn on his right side was growing over his eye. It was getting closer and closer to his eye and we thought that within a month or two that it would start to interfere with his sight and possibly, rub the surface of the eye. We called a few vet hospitals for advice. They said we could cut it off ourselves but there was a chance that there might be a lot of bleeding and it would be safer to have a vet do it. Also, without giving Brownie something to make him sleepy he would not stand still and we could injure his eye trying to remove part of the horn.
This all made sense to us. We decided that we should take Brownie down to the large animal hospital in Elk Grove and have the horn shortened. The prospector borrowed a horse trailer from a friend over the weekend and this morning we led Brownie into it and took Carl too, for moral support.
You would have thought that we were taking him to a meat packing plant. He didn't understand and he was very frightened at first. But, we gave him his lead and he actually walked up into the trailer without resistance as long as we didn't push or pull him. We just talked to him and guided him and let him do it at his own pace. He did let us know what he thought about the whole thing for 15 minutes or so as we drove down through town and out onto the highway. But once we got going he settled down and an hour later, when we arrived at the hospital, he greeted us silently and with a renewed confidence when we opened the back door to the trailer.
The vet, a very nice man, helped the prospector get Brownie out of the trailer while I took Carl for a quick walk around the parking area. The Vet said that this wouldn't take long and he, my husband and Brownie disappeared into a big building. Brownie was being such a good goat. He walked with them into the building as if he knew all about what was happening.
About 20 minutes later they all came out and Brownie was walking a little slow. His right horn was gone, except for about 2 inches of it and that was bandaged. They had given him some "gas" that just knocked him out for a few minutes while they did the deed and then he woke right back up. He was fine and he didn't make a sound all the way home.
This procedure cost us $65.00 ($40 for the gas and $25 for the dehorning.) I think that's reasonable. (The vet even clipped his hoofs while he was at it.) I thought it would be a lot more than that. The trailer was free..., well, we are giving it back with a couple of cases of good beer in it but that's small payment for its use..., and, of course, the gas in our truck to drive down there. So..., I think it was still a very good deal.
The boys were so glad to see Brownie. They all came over and milled around him whispering quiet little things to him and sniffing the new bandage. Brownie accepted it all as if he had gone to battle and come home the hero. He was the returning warrior with his war wound. He even allowed me to take photos. He posed for me.
Before I left and as I was walking toward the gate I thought I heard him say something. I thought I heard him say "Thank you Farmlady." I'm not quite sure. Brownie is not known for overt displays of gratitude but I'm pretty sure I heard him say thank you. It could have been "(something else)....you", but I don't think so because he kept looking at me and I think he was smiling..., just a little bit.
You were a good, brave boy, Brownie. We love you.