Heroes come in various shapes and forms. A man, a dog, neighbors, a wood stove. Even one who was once in need of help can become a hero.
Birth is such a miracle, conception itself and then the birthing process, which is quite traumatic on its own even when things go right. When they don’t, the scramble and brain-aching process of “what to do” enters the normally serene scene.
Our hero scenario was centered on the beautiful heifer calf born to my Milking Devon milk cow Colette that presented with a very serious problem. I was out of state helping my parents during surgery recovery. Colette calved two weeks earlier than her due date. At first we thought we just got the date wrong, but after watching her for 24 hours, Tom knew something was wrong. It was determined this little gal was premature.
Even though she did get some of the vital first milk/colostrum, it clearly wasn’t enough, she was getting weak. The health of Colette was precarious too, being in great discomfort with a full udder and had not expelled the afterbirth yet. Tom literally cannot milk dairy animals, and Colette doesn’t like anyone but me to milk her. Thank goodness for country neighbors!
A late night, two hour roundtrip drive to get some thawed, pre-frozen colostrum from a “neighbor”, Tom had fed the wee girl a warm meal. She wasn’t able to regulate her body temperature so Tom kept her in the cabin overnight by the woodstove, during which time our very pregnant English Shepherd adopted her with “kisses” and sleeping close by. The following morning Tom took her out to mama for a meal; she did nurse a little. She spent the day outside in the warm sunshine. Another neighbor came to milk Colette and release some of the pressure, plus tried to teach Tom how to milk her.
Come night she was shivering again, so back inside for more warm colostrum and a cozy night. The next morning she was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looking for a meal… on Tom’s leg! So he took her straight out to mama and this time she nursed more heartily. By that evening she was able to stay warm so slept outside near mama… where she has been ever since.
Every day she gets stronger and is growing well, romping around the paddock with her older brother. Quite the little heroine!
So while we do not believe going through heroic measures is always the thing to do, Tom and our neighbors saved this little one for sure.
Thank goodness for heroes!