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January 5, 2011: Peaches and the Fourth Dimension

This morning I went out to the goat pen, and as I usually do, I put some hay in their trough. Ranger and Rover dove right in, making their usual grunting sounds, but Peaches stood staring at the wall. I took all three out and had them come with me down to the horse shelter. There, I fed them outside. Peaches stood for a while, staring out into space, and then began eating. She soon began head butting Rover, which meant that she was again feeling better.

Peaches was, I think, checking out what I call the fourth dimension, that place we all who are alive all eventually go. She’s tired of winter, tired of being in the pen, tired of having to fight with Ranger and Rover for her share of the hay. She might very well be more than tired. She might also be ill. She does have caprine infectious anemia, which could mean that she’s not long for this world.

Peaches on our porch
Peaches on our porch

All this makes me feel quite sad. I love Peaches, and don’t want to see her suffer. But it may be that suffering is a form of a portal through which we all must go to get to the fourth dimension. If need be, I will shorten the length of this portal by having her euthanized. The same is going to hold true for all the animals who live here.

I do not believe the story about the Rainbow Bridge. It goes like this. Your animals die, and it then wait for you by a bridge. When you die, you both cross together and then take up residence in a huge meadow.

This is all well and good. But the way I see it, we all go our separate ways when we pass on. We really can’t comprehend what form our animals or our spiritual selves will later take. So we do what we as humans do best, which is fictionalize. Our stories make us feel better in the interim.

Poet Marvin Bell, in a poem entitled Gemwood (which is about his son’s dying rat) wrote that “the heart must expand to hold the losses that are ahead of it.” Indeed, we here are going in time to have very large hearts, for several of the critters here are now “getting up there.” The dogs, Jenna and Rainbow, are now both ten-years old. And the horse/pony, Tinni, is now 21. As for the chickens, well, Nimby and Henny Penny Palin are ageless but aging.

Having animals takes time. I’m now happily maxed out. I have just enough time to give each one individual attention. This would not be the case if I didn’t work at home. I admit that as of late, the goats have taken a back seat in terms of animal care. It’s sometimes a juggling act around here and even more so in the winter. Lately, the horses have taken precedence. Peaches, in particular, needs a bit more love and attention. It will be easy for me to rise to the occasion. Later today, I’ll do some body work on her and put a fleece vest on her so that she stays warmer. I’d like to see her have one more good spring and summer.

I will not grieve when any of the animals here pass on, nor will I berate myself for not having been attentive to their needs. Death is, after all, just a part of a huge cycle, one that involves great love, and great loss. Peaches is a good example of this. She was originally a milk goat, but we decided to retire her. This was because we did not want to pass on the genes for CAE. She’s enjoyed life here, hanging out with her buddies, going for walks, eating, and chewing her cud. Of all the animals, she’s the one that most enjoys the body work.

Next: 31. 12/6/11: Raudi’s Story