|Albert, the Great goat! Lovely photo by Julia Lewis.|
The next morning, Albert was in his regular bed, the shaving pile. Something was wrong though. He couldn't move his head forward. We later found out it is called 'stargazing'. He spent a week at University of Georgia large animal clinic. They were able to do blood work, test spinal fluids and through elimination, decided it was goat polio. We brought him home with medications and iv fluids, sub.q injections and everything needed to see if he'd get better, The many volunteers who came helped out so much. We picked him up with a sling, did physical therapy, every kind of treatment we could find. People from around the world sent prayers and good wishes for him. Some days we thought we were making progress, then he would take a turn backwards. Everyone spent time with him, comforting him, loving him, feeding him and offering him treats. When you have a critical animal you tend to become very close to them. Your heart aches for them. You lay beside them, you think of all the times they made you smile. You want desperately to make them well. You search for answers, cures, ideas. You try to realize you may have to make a decision you never want to make but you have to know you can never let them suffer. You look for a sign, you hope they tell you. You can't be selfish but it is a decision you cannot reverse so it is vital to weigh every positive sign as well as every negative sign. You look for hope constantly. After 22 days of not walking, Albert was losing all muscle even with our efforts. He still stargazed, he lost weight. He wanted so badly to get up and walk away. Now he seemed to have discomfort. We washed him, kept ointment of him, made sure he didn't get a rash by keeping his under pads changed and cleaned. We looked to make sure he didn't get bed sores. We moved him from side to side and he fought less and less. We could not let him die from dehydration or letting his organs shut down. The last thing anyone wanted was for him to have any pain.
Dr Amanda knew Albert for several years so I asked her to come by this morning and help Albert leave us in peace. It was gentle and fast for Albert. It is hard and painful for everyone who knew and loved him. We sure will miss the 280 pound goat of love! Rest In Peace, Albert. Dec 26, 2012