Friday, July 10, 2009

An Unwelcome Visitor

Lorna Doone-Buggy is gone. I am a complete failure as a shepherd. I knew better. Remember the night I slept in the barn because I didn't want to leave the flock in the unsecured front field while the paint dried on the fences? That's the same field I had the doodle bug living in. With an old, crippled ewe to protect her (not that I was apparently even thinking about that).

She was the toughest, sweetest, happiest, most loving (even when I had to give her horrible shots that made her fall on the ground they hurt so bad) lamb and was such a joy to be around. She and I played in the barn aisleway last night - she was just starting to feel good enough to jump and run. I completely let her down. Any idiot could have kept her safe.

I am so sorry.

I am assuming it was a coyote, but can't say for sure. We've had some neighbor dog issues, but usually dogs take down an entire group and don't eat what they kill. Ewenice doesn't have a mark on her.

43 comments:

Tammy said...

I am so, so sorry. My heart aches for you. You were just concentrating on her getting better and having access to fresh air and grass. Sometimes it is hard to cover all the bases all the time. Again, I'm so very sorry. Take care.
Tammy

Nancy K. said...

Oh, Sara! That is SO unfair. I am so sorry for your loss. I know that there are just no words that can ease your pain but please know that we share that pain. Through you, we've all come to love Lorna. Please don't let yourself fall into the 'blame' game! You KNOW that you did the best you could ~ and better than most would have even bothered! ~ for that precious little lamb. Hind sight is 20/20. You are a loving, caring and devoted shepherd and Lorna was blessed to have you part of her life.

I wish that I could give you a big hug!

didyouhearme said...

I am so sorry. I have heard there are animals in heaven. Surely yours are there.

Lindsay said...

She was such a lovely looking lamb.

Claire said...

So sorry to hear it. She had a super start with you and she had so many ups and downs - its hard to say how she would have fared as time went on. Don't blame yourself - we all do our best and we all have things happen that in hindsight, we might have prevented. It's all learning and improving. She will be missed but not forgotten.

Alice said...

My heart breaks for you and your sheep family as you have to sustain yet another devastating loss. I imagine that Lorna Doone is comforted by Sunshine.
It would not occur to many that a coyote would be so near with the building you've had going on lately. I thought they were active around farms mostly in the spring when they were feeding their pups.
I am certain the sadness and grief you must feel is commensurate with your devotion and love that you give as a shepherdess. My thoughts and prayers to you.

I need orange said...

I am so sorry.

How awful.

Mom L said...

It was definitely not your fault, and never say you are a failure. You kept that little gal going, and you and Ewenice did the best you could. It's very sad, and I am so sorry for the hurt it caused you. I'm sure that a lamb that well loved will be waiting for you on the Rainbow Bridge, and you'll have a flock again on the other side.

Nancy in Atlanta

jenny said...

This is not your fault! Not at all. We can't protect the ones we love from all the bad things in the world. Like an earlier poster said, hindsight is 20/20 and you couldn't have anticipated this--weren't Keebler and Graham out there for ages and just fine? You have brought so much joy to me personally by sharing your beautiful farm. I'm really sorry you're going through this. Lorna Doone-Buggy will be missed.

Deb said...

Sara,
I am so very sorry - so many know that loss of losing that special one. Your being very unkind to yourself. Lorna Dune Buggy wouldn't have even had a start in life if it hadn't been for you and your depth of care. Losing her to a predator is part of the animal cycle - it happens even with the most protected of sheep.
She was one of the lucky ones :)

Be good to yourself - she would want that.

DayPhoto said...

OH! Did you call the DOW? Our neighbor lost some sheep to coyotes and the coyotes just kill and eat parts of them and leave (here anyway). We have packs of wild dogs and they like to run everything to death, BUT CATS take the animals. Do you have Mountain Lions or simular cats there?

Please DO NOT take the blame, your are an amazing Shepherd and one of the kindest of loving people. My heart is breaking with yours.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Denise said...

Oh no this is so very sad...but please don't blame yourself for this. Things just happen and many things are out of our control....as much as we like to think we can prevent it. Especially when it comes to matters like this. I know it doesn't make it any easier and that your heart is breaking right now, as well it should. She had so many people loving her from all over the place. Now she will go home and tell the others of her kind about the loving kindness she experienced with you. And so the animal kingdom is a wiser and better place because of your acts of kindness. I'm so so sorry for this tragic loss of a life gone way too soon.

thecrazysheeplady said...

I go to a lot of trouble (well, really not that much trouble - the sheep come up to the barn for the night and I lock the gate behind them) to make sure everyone is as safe as they can be. Even Keebler and GL are behind 4 planks and diamond mesh. While that is not a fool proof system, it's worked for us so far. Ewenice and Lorna Doone were out in the front field, and while they too came up to their stalls at night, there was no 4 planks and diamond mesh to protect them. I could have built them an enclosed stall. Stupid, painful mistake.

I can't say for sure what took her. I would assume coyote as it doesn't follow tell tale dog signs. I don't know of any cats here, but they aren't far away. I too am a little surprised something came as close to the barn/house/studio compound.

I will probably run all the sheep together (safety in numbers?) and sleep out there for at least tonight. It is very lonely without the doodlebug.

Dana and Daisy said...

oh no, how heartbreaking! I am so sorry! I know you are a good shepherdess and you should not be blaming yourself!

Pam said...

Sara,
Everyone else has already said it better than I could, but I'm so sorry. Even if you do every thing perfectly, you will occasionally have losses, but never easy ones. Stop being so hard on yourself and focus foreward. A big hug to you.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

My heart is breaking with yours, although not nearly so completely, I'm sure. I'm sorry sorry you lost your little angel, and just as she was getting better, too. Life is too painful to bear sometimes....

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I hope you are not blaming yourself now that all these people have commented. I am the first to blame myself and the first to tell others not to do so. I have no ground to stand on.

I do believe we cannot protect life. We do what we can, and you did so much. The more I pay attention to the play of life and death, the more I believe that when we are called, we go. I have an Aunt die recently because she nicked her leg shaving. Who would have thought a person could die from that? She was on blood thinners, she didn't think it was that bad, and she went to sleep. I believe Lorna was called. I am sorry.

Please pass the tissues.

Leah

Shelley said...

I'm really sorry Sara. You wouldn't be a wonderful animal saint if you didn't care so much. Thank you for introducing her to me thru your blog and don't be hard on yourself. You do awesome things every day and you should remember that!

String said...

Our last baby goat we were raising had a similar thing happen, but we know it was dogs because they left the remains. Its not your fault it happened.

CathyD. said...

Sara, I am so very, very sorry. It's just not fair. You did everything you could for Lorna Dune, even giving her 4 rounds of antibiotics! And then something else comes out of left field and snatches her away. I've been sitting here crying, knowing there is nothing I can say, just wanting to give you a hug. Sometimes the sweetest little souls, both human and animal, are only with us for a short time. But they touch us and teach us and then we hold them as treasured gifts in our hearts. It's SO NOT FAIR. She had people all over the country fall in love with her, pray for her and now miss her. A beautiful legacy for Lorna Dune and hopefully a comfort for you. Cathy

June said...

I am so sorry to hear about Lorna Doone-Buggy. We lost our Ace kitty yesterday, too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

melanie said...

Sara-
Please don't blame yourself for what happened. Try as we might to control the forces of nature, sometimes we are blind-sided by the unfairness of it all.

The caring you show for your animals and your stories brings me great joy. I wish I could give a little back to you just this once, as you seem to need it.

Lorna was a very lucky little lamb to have had you...

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

She was so sweet to see, I'm so sorry. Wish I had the words to make you feel better.

Carolina Trekker said...

I am sorry you have to go through this. You are a wonderful Shepherd & bring much joy to all of us.
Animals reach out to comfort humans who are grieving. Yours treasure you too.
Many Hugs for the days ahead.

Peruby said...

My heart filled with grief when I read your post. How unfair and how utterly devastating. Please know that your readers care and want to comfort you in your time of pain.

flowerweaver said...

My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry, she was precious. No matter how hard we try to heal and save, things still happen. It is not your fault.

Hope Miss Ewenice is OK. I'm sure she's rattled. Console each other as it's not her fault either.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh My, I am so sad for you. I have so enjoyed your adventures, as I come over here to check out your Sunday Stills posts. You did your best, we as animal/pet owners cannot think of everything.. you are a wonderful Shepherdess! So be kinder to yourself..:)

Jeanette said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Man, these sheep worm their way into our hearts, I don't think it would matter how many others you have...the loss is felt deeply.
I'm so sad for you :(

CathyD. said...

Sara, I saw your tweet (why is it not a twit?) on Sat. and just wondered, have you ever thought of having a Llama? I know someone who has one and he is very protective and vigilant.
Also, I'm concerned for Miss Eunice. Please give her an extra dose of TLC and tell her about all the people out here in the blogasphere who care about her and know she was a wonderful
grammy for Lorna Dune.

thecrazysheeplady said...

We have spent the last two nights sleeping in different parts of the barn a. to keep the rest of the sheep safe and b. hoping whatever it was will come back (and hoping we can make sure it never comes back again). Have a lead on a possible loaner guard dog and have been offered a proven, but older, donkey. We are also considering some extra electric fencing ideas and have been encouraged by stories of radios playing all night. We'll figure something out. We have to. Someone asked me, at what point does the sadness outweigh the joy. I think I have crossed that line. I'm trying to be Lorna Doone-Buggy and keep my head up and a smile on my face, but this has been an awful blow and I feel like a crumpled up piece of paper that missed the trash bin. I appreciate everyone's thoughts and comments.

Diana said...

Im so sorry. Sometimes life just happens no matter how hard you work at it. Please dont blame yourself. Diana

common ground said...

We are all broken hearted like you. So many of us go through these horrid times with our little loved ones. I had just met little Lorna and started following your blog. I know you are not letting this be in vain, but looking to see what you can do to improve your outlook for the rest of the "family". You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Debra

barb :0) said...

I AM SO VERY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.
BARB

Laura said...

I'm so sorry.

Pamela said...

I am so very, very sorry for the loss of your little Lorna-Dune-Buggy. Others have said it much more eloquently than I ever can, but you cannot blame yourself.

I can only imagine the heartbreak...maybe it will help to know there are many of us out here in the blogsphere who will take time out today to give our woolies an extra hug and send a thought your way as we do so.

thecrazysheeplady said...

The thought of everyone giving their sheep (and cats and dogs and chickens and horses and parents and kids and friends...) extra hugs makes me feel a little better. Thanks.

~Molly~ said...

Oh Sara, what a blow! I'm soooo sad for you but please don't blame yourself.

If it was a coyote, and it sounds like it to me, they WILL come up close to snatch something. Two of my cousins, one in San Diego and one in rural Oklahoma have had their small dogs taken right before their eyes! One was a good-sized cocker spaniel too. If coyotes come across something easy, they'll attempt it.

cyndy said...

Just catching up on my blog reading and have to say I'm so sorry to read about what happened to poor LD...

Hugs...it is impossible to protect them from everything

We have coyote, bobcat...and bears around here...if they get a chance they will take my chickens...my neighbors who raise finnsheep have lost sheep of their own to the bears over the past years...it is heartbreaking when predators take livestock..nature can be so cruel...

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I'm sorry to hear about this little sweetie. We'll all remember her and how hard you worked to see her well.

Don't dwell on feelings of failure (they're aren't true). Instead dwell on your heartfelt intentions--you did everything you could think of to help them.

Ed said...

I too feel like someone just kicked me in the gut. Don't get too down on yourself you still have Grahm and Keebs and you have done an EXCELLENT job with those two boys. Life goes on and it will..:-) Keep up the good work, and I'll miss Little Lorna.

dibear said...

Oh Sara this breaks my heart. There are just no words to explain how I feel and I definitely share your pain, and I lost my wonderful sweet kitty last Fall due to my neglect! To coyotes we are sure. You are in my heart today. And I'll give our Maggie Mae a huge hug and juicy kiss.

Linda B. said...

I just don't know what to say. Just know that I am sad with you.

mudranch said...

I'm so sorry to read about this Sara! I can't give you any good words except a big mental (((HUG))).

~Joan at Mud Ranch

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