"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dennis and the concerned donkey

Mama died yesterday.

Feeling defeated and discouraged with the dog situation, I went down and helped with the large animals today. Melanie was bottle feeding the calves and she noticed one of them wasn't taking the bottle - something that is very unusual as the calves a normally fighting for a lick at it. His name was Dennis. I could recognize him easily because his spine curved in all sorts of directions. I had a look at him, he seemed bright and alert but possibly dehydrated. When the vet assistant (whose name I can now correctly pronounce: Mangi Lal) arrived we told him Dennis was refusing to eat and he looked at him for a second and then went on to the other treatments.

I helped him with a cow that had a large wound on it's face.  Then I saw a new animal in the paddock: a cow with a fracture in it's left front limb.  The animal hobbled around three-legged, something that is easy for a dog to do but much more difficult for a beastly cow. The animal was new and clearly afraid of humans.  Mangi Lal and one other man chased the animal around for quite a while before casting it and wrestling it to the ground.  When the animal was finally in lateral recumbency, I was able to feel the fractured metacarpal bone.  We gave it some Meloxicam, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, while the assistant called down for some help and the men began to make splints out of wood using curved machetes. I held the leg straight while they wrapped the leg in cotton, placed the splints, and wrapped it in gauze.

Melanie and I talked to the doctor during tea time about Dennis and she said she would have a look at him.  After examining him she concluded that he was, in fact, dehydrated and that we should give him some I.V. fluids.  She asked me to sit with him while we gave it 2 liters. I knew this was going to take a while.  We got the calf to lay down and the doctor inserted the needle into the animal's jugular vein and attached the line for the drip. I sat the with the vet assistant for almost an hour, holding the needle place and the animal's head down.  During that time, one of the donkeys came over to the calf and stood there staring at him for an exceptionally long period of time. It was incredible as she appeared to be very concerned for the small animal.  I tried to make conversation with the assistant, but again it was mostly a communication fail.  He did tell me he liked my hair.  I had put it up in a messy bun the night before, slept on it, and left it.  I'm pretty sure it looked more like a rat's nest than a hairstyle.

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