Wednesday, February 19, 2014

So I Have To Tell A (Kinda) Funny One

I thought we were going to lose Jester last week. That's not the funny part...obviously.  Jester's a very old sheep - we've had him 11 years and he was at least two or three when we got him.  He and Elizabeth are the last of our original five Jacobs from Indiana and while I'm sure that day is rapidly approaching,  "[He's] not quite dead yet!" ;-).

He's had a huge growth on the front of his neck for the last three or so years.  We've had several different vets look at it and without doing surgery, no one can say for sure what it is.  Since he was then already a very old sheep, we didn't want to put him through that and he's gotten along pretty well.  Until last Tuesday.

He was "fine" in the morning and at noon, but at the evening feed, something was very wrong.  He was breathing and coughing like he had an advanced case of pneumonia.  He sounded terrible and was not interested in eating, even a cookie (and he has an incredible sweet tooth!).  Jacobs are very stoic sheep, but still...how could I have missed that he was getting that sick.

We immediately began treating him for pneumonia, but I thought it didn't look good.  He was very sick, the weather was awful (single digits again), his age and the compromised condition of his neck could only be working against him...

Over the next couple of days he didn't get any better.  But, oddly, he didn't get any worse.  He still wasn't eating, maybe wasn't drinking, he hated being handled and given shots and bottom line he wasn't getting any better.  I started having to think about making the tough decision.  While it's a hard decision, watching an animal suffer is even harder.

I called Dr. Baron and brought her up to speed with what I knew, what I didn't know.  She and Lou came out, we cornered Jester in the little shed and she started checking him over.  Surprisingly his lungs were clear.  His neck was definitely the issue.  And while it could have just been the growth (or whatever) finally getting big enough to cause serious problems, she wondered if he'd injured it on something, causing extra swelling, which was in turn causing the strider breathing and coughing.

Because he hadn't shown any signs of being ready to give up, we decided to treat him with some steroids and see what happened.  Steroids would take down any inflammation, make him feel a little better and stimulate his appetite.  She pulled out a syringe and he knew what was coming.  He might be old, but he's not feeble!  It was all Lou could do to hang on to him while Natalie gave him the shot.  What he did next took us all by surprise.

He walked over an punched Elizabeth!  

"Jester!"

And he did it again!  Louanne was the closest and she immediately got between them.  He acted like he was going to do it again so I told her to grab him and drag him out of there.

"Jester!  What are you thinking?!?"

Tim said we needed to file an EPO (Elizabeth Protection Order).  Grumpy old men who don't feel good... ;-) 


"It's okay.  I've forgiven him. He was just having a really bad day and he really hates shots."

The best part is he's feeling much better :-D.  He started back eating and drinking over the weekend.  He still didn't seem quite back to "normal" and still wasn't eating cookies, but I thought yesterday he looked a little brighter.  And this morning?


"I'm ready for that cookie, lady!"

Yay, Jester!  Yay, good friends and vets!  Yay, Vanilla Wafers ;-)

"Careful with that gate, big guy!"

 


28 comments:

Willow said...

I get cranky about shots too .
Aw Glad Jester is back to smiling !

Andee said...

Was Elizabeth the one that caused him harm in the first place? Humm if walls could talk. I'm glad to see him looking so bright!

Stephen Andrew said...

Oh I'm so glad he's getting better. Just when I thought sheep were all about bucolic vistas and fluffy ears...it turns into an episode of Cops!

jenann said...

One of our old Ryeland ewes behaved like that last year. She responded to an antibiotic shot - not something we often give our girls - but went downhill in the greedy old sheep area as soon as the slow release meds had finished releasing slowly. Then she started banging her mouth on the metal gate and suddenly, out pooped the remains of her elderly worn out tooth, followed by a foul smell - she had a tooth abscess. Right now she's tearing round our muck pile like a spring lamb, it's the first day out since the winter storms and she thinks she's 3 months old today, not 12 years old.

gowestferalwoman said...

Oh Sara, I am so there with you!'

You wish in the morning you can find that they had gone peacefully in their sleep, then feel guilty when you peak in on them, see that they are up, looking you in the eye and being themselves...this old age thing is hard !!!
I think in all probability we are going to have to say goodbye to Isabel and Dexterdog this year. Dexter is 13 and its really starting to show :(, and well, isabel is doing good now, but shes not gaining the weight she lost though...sigh.

But I do hope you gave Jester a cookie! xoxo

aarond said...

So glad he is doing better. I hate to see my animals not feel good too. Poor Elizabeth.

Spinners End Farm said...

They both have the sweetest smiles! :)

Marcy Doane said...

He's a feisty old guy! Vanilla wafers can cure lots of ills. Glad he's better. I feel like your sheep are dear friends.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Elizabeth is so tiny and feeble, I can't imagine she could have hurt him. Anything is possible though. My best guess is he stuck his head through the gate, probably sparring with one of the other boys ;-).

Alice said...

Capture of Jester smiling is.....priceless!!!

I need orange said...

All's well that ends well..........

So glad he's up and happy to eat another cookie.

And glad Elizabeth wasn't hurt!

Jan baby said...

Yay for Jester! (for feeling better) Yoweee for Elizabeth! (she's been around to see a few things)

Bow Street Flowers said...

Inspite of that punch, he's a Trooper! That face!

small farm girl said...

Awwwwwwwww! I'm glad he's better. I hate the time when our animals get old and you are "waiting". I think I'll get rid of all my animals and get a turtle. Don't they live to be like, 100? That will work.

Lori Skoog said...

Good for Jester. That's what he gets for having such a thoughtful and caring mom!

Michelle said...

Go Jester! Glad he is feeling so much better!

fjord girl said...

So happy it all ended well- and glad to see Jester in better spirits :)

Terry and Linda said...

I'm so glad this turned out GOOD!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Sheepmom said...

Jester is awesome! So glad he's feeling better. Just goes to show that being sick when you're old doesn't spell doom so long as you have someone to care for you. I love his looking-for-a-cookie face.

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

Sheepmom is right ... and they live in the moment and hey, how about that cookie!!! Tears looking at that great old face. Good on both of you.

Shirley said...

Brat! I swear he's smiling there - hoping you'll forgive him and give him a cookie!

karen said...

poor guy, I think I'm like him when it comes to health care as well. Glad he is feeling a bit better!!

Kelli Michel said...

So glad he's feeling better - he deserves that cookie now!!

Stacey at Fearn Abbey Needleworks said...

Aww. I'm so glad he's doing better. Our pampered babies can live a long time. Lamby-love is powerful! I hope you gave him double cookies!

Susan said...

Us old gals/fellas have staying power. Glad Jester perked up and that Elizabeth has the good graces to forgive him.

Miha Giustina said...

He looks like a sheepie with character. Cute, that last shot. I am glad he is doing better.

Far Side of Fifty said...

He is better..you can see it in his eyes! Poor Elizabeth..she probably thought her friend went nuts:)

Carolina Trekker said...

Awww Jester, so glad you feel better. Yes, vanilla wafers are our friend! HUGs

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