Before I begin, John and I would like to most humbly thank everyone who came out to Winchester for our first annual open house on Saturday, June 13th. We enjoyed your company and the delicious vegan food you brought and we sincerely hope you enjoyed yourselves while meeting us, but more importantly, the animals in our care. They certainly seemed to enjoy the company and the snacks! We hope you will all come back, as the invitation is always open.
WARNING: Some images below are disturbing and graphic.
Monday morning we received an email about a baby pygmy goat with a broken leg. The man writing the email asked if we knew of a no-kill shelter that would take “it” because he could not afford vet care. Upon asking more questions we discovered “it” was a week-old male pygmy goat who injured his leg three days prior. I reached out to the Vegan Virginia Facebook group asking for help transporting him the 4.5 hours from Chesapeake to Winchester ASAP and two wonderful ladies, Bailey and Dana dropped everything to bring him to us. Bailey picked him up in Chesapeake around 9:30pm and met up with Dana in Richmond around midnight, who drove him from Richmond to Winchester. I called our amazing vet, Dr. Fred at Mountain State Equine and told him all I knew. He gave advice on treatment and we made arrangements for him to come out in a few hours. I also made a midnight run to the grocery store to purchase cow’s milk, the most readily available source of food for the baby. Dana arrived with the baby at 3am Tuesday morning. Dana was a real asset, staying and helping for a couple hours after driving all night, while I worked on assessing and treating his injured leg. Upon removing the makeshift splint it was clear the leg was not salvageable. The lower half of his leg was nothing but cold, limp, necrotic tissue and filled with maggots. The smell is not something we will soon forget. The only thing holding the dead leg on was some dead skin, so upon direction from Dr. Fred I cut off the dead limb and worked at removing as many maggots as possible from the remaining limb. I bandaged the wound, and fed him his prescribed 3oz of milk and he fell asleep.
Dr. Fred came and treated baby and gave further instruction about daily bandage changes and was kind enough to leave some supplies. We send him an email with any changes and he is on 24 hour call should anything change for the worse. He knows our heart is for the animals and their well being and he appreciates all we do for them. Many of his clients only see animals as things and although he isn’t vegan he knows as we do they are beautiful individuals who deserve everything within our power to care for them. The prognosis for baby is good. The infection and inflammation are subsiding and he is eating well and getting around just fine. He will require at least one further surgery to create a healthy stump. Because he experienced this loss so early in life he will adapt well and the long term goal is a healthy, happy three-legged goat!
I asked the man who surrendered him to us if his goats ever see a vet and he replied they didn’t. I asked him why he has goats and he essential said to keep his land from being overgrown. I implored him to at the very least have an annual vet check. Let this be a lesson to people who have animals for their own purposes. Animals are not objects like lawnmowers or food/clothing producers. They are living beings with a great capacity for the same emotions we feel. They feel physical pain and as stewards of this earth and everyone and thing upon it, it is our responsibility to cause as little pain as possible. This also holds true for our wonderful animal companions.
Yesterday was another eventful Saturday as we trekked down to Richmond, Virginia for the annual VegFest! We had a booth and many visitors. There were too many opportunities to educate to count!. Everyone enjoyed meeting the new baby and the attention combined with the heat really tuckered him out! He slept most of the day. Because we are just over a year old as a sanctuary, many people were unaware there was a farm animal sanctuary in Virginia and many people expressed interest in visiting and volunteering. We look forward to seeing them all again!
In closing, it has been a very full week. A week full of heartbreak, late nights and unsure feelings, but ultimately of hope, love and gratitude. Thank you for your continued care, prayers and support. We really cannot do this without our financial supporters, volunteers and the prayers and well wishes of everyone who knows us, and many more who don’t.