Lambing won’t begin before April 10 but already we’re off to a heartbreaking start.
Dolly was moving very stiffly when we went out to hay and grain the sheep yesterday morning, but more concerning was how low her stomach area appeared. We gave her 80 cc’s of calcium gluconate because in the past when a very pregnant ewe had that stiff gate that was the recommendation. Todd left for work and I got nothing done. Two hours passed and I called the Vet who came to the barn. Dr. Kristen Guldbech took one look at her and said something I didn’t retain, because it was followed by “best to put her down.” Dolly had a rupture of the prepubic tendon leaving her with no support for her stomachs or her fetuses. She was in deep pain and her babies would not be viable this early.
With snow flying sideways, tears streaming down my cheeks, I hugged Dolly around her neck as the Vet shaved her jugular and injected pentobarbital. Seconds later, Dolly slumped to the barn floor and died as I stroked her face and neck with both my hands.
Dolly was Martha’s side kick, part of our original flock, and a marvelous and productive mother. More importantly, Dolly and Martha taught Todd and me how to be sheep farmers. They have put up with much as we climb the Shepard’s learning curve. And yesterday, the curve was a painful one. The decision to put down a pregnant ewe and friend.
Dolly, thank you for everything. You will be missed.