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Country Discussion Topics
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Runty
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Cindi    Posted 08-29-2003 at 06:11:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Fred came into the house last night about nine o'clock carrying the runt of Hannah's litter. The difference between me and Fred is, that I knew on sight that this little pig wasn't going to make it. I would have left it where it was and gone about my business.

I've seen too many runts go the same way. They get kicked out of the milk line too many times and they just never catch up. Even if you bring them in the house and feed them by hand, they are always weak and sickly and the first time they get stepped on or they catch a cold they are goners and die a worse, longer, harder death, than just letting nature take it's course.

"Make me a penicillin shot and fix me up some of that milk replacer." He told me as he wrapped the piglet up in a towel.

"No." I replied. "You fix a penicillin shot and you make the milk replacer. I'm sick and I'm going to bed."

"Well, you're a fine help."

"Fred....that piglet is as good as dead."

"How do YOU know?"

"I can tell from here without even touching it that it has no body heat, it's not protesting the fact that you're holding it IN the house, and it hasn't opened it's eyes since you came in the door." I put my hand on his shoulder. "If I didn't feel so bad, I would humor you, but this cold is kicking my butt and I can barely do the things that HAVE to be done. I have no energy to invest in something that's a waste of time." I didn't want to squash his hope, but I was dead on my feet and not in the mood to play step'n'fetch it.

"You're a cold person." He said, looking at me like he was seeing me for the first time.

"I couldn't just not try." He informed me with a haughty expression. He had waded out there to the pasture, collected this little pig and tenderly carried inside wrapped in the tail of his shirt, and was not prepared to hear that there was no hope.

This is the same man who is never home, who has to work daylight to dark to keep this place going and is lucky if he gets to spend fifteen minutes a day with the animals. I see every litter, every piglet almost, come into the world. I handle them all at one point or another. I've seen them come and I've seen them go, and I know what I'm doing.

"Well I know it seems that way, but it's not really coldness, it's resignation and I know what I'm talking about. I spend way yonder more time with the piglets than you do. You do what you like, but it's a waste of time and resources. That piglet has pneumonia. He's probably dying right now. We might be able to save it if we took it to the vet but the three hundred dollar vet bill is going to far outweigh anything we are able to sell it for down the road."

He did it anyway. He gave the shot, he gave the milk replacer. He wrapped the piglet in two towels, plugged the a/c vent that leads to the bathroom, and closed the bathroom door to keep out drafts. I took an overdose of Niquil and went to bed.

About four a.m. I woke up needing the bathroom. The piglet was in a box by the sink. I nudged it with the tip of my finger and it's entire body moved. It was stiff as a board. Rigor mortis had already begun to set in. I felt terrible. All his efforts gone to nothing. But I also felt vindicated. How could he think that I was just too lazy to try?

When I got back to bed he was just getting up.

"Your patient didn't make it." I told him. He didn't say anything for a long time, and then....

"I guess that makes you real happy."

"Of course it doesn't make me happy."

"Want to say I told you so now? Or save it for later."

"Look Fred." I sat up in bed. "Do you know how many piglets just like that one that I have tried to save? Do you know how hard it is to work on one for ten hours straight and the minute you get too tired to try anymore and leave it for ten minutes it dies! The only way for you to know how that feels is to let you experience it first hand. The next time I tell you to let it go, maybe you'll let it go."

"I'll NEVER stop trying." He said firmly.

"Well you just go ahead and bang your head against the wall all you want, I used to do the same thing until it got to where it hurt too much. I think it's wonderful that you care, but if you're going to leave me here to handle all this stuff by myself, then give me a little credit for knowing what I'm doing, and NEVER EVER insinuate that I don't care or that I don't try hard enough."

He got ready for work and we didn't say another word to each other until he called me a few minutes ago and apologized for doubting me and for leaving the piglet for me to dispose of.

"Well for future reference, I am not a cold person, I am a practical person, okay?" That stung, so I had to say something sbout that.

"I know, I know, I was grasping at straws."

"If you're here and you want to try, then you go right ahead and I will never say anything to you about it, but when I know it's a lost cause and say so, don't tell me that I have no heart, and just so you know, I wish I had been wrong."

"I know." He said gently.

"Look at it this way, if nothing else you gave it a place to die in peace, a warm, quiet, dry environment where it wouldn't be stepped on and pushed around. That's worth something, right? I think you are one of the most caring, compassionate people I have ever met and I wouldn't have you any other way."

Silence from his end.

"And just for the record, one day when I'm old and sick and maybe dying I'll be proud to have to have you on my side."

He hung up abruptly then, the same thing he always does when his emotions get the better of him, and I felt the sting of the beginning of a tear. A tear of gratitude that somehow, some way, in the grand scheme of life, with all the odds firmly stacked against us, I had found this wonderful, warm man, and he had found me and we are now us.



Ron/PA    Posted 08-30-2003 at 10:58:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know exactly what you mean.
One time I picked a pup up from a litter and declared it dead,, Donna gave me that look and took the pup from me. 10 years later I was still hunting that old girl and her pups??
At least 4 times out of 4 different litters, we've rescued runts, and they all brought good prices. I'll never be convinced that I should give up, until it's too late. I'll never declare one dead until I see that it's dead, or I make it dead. I'll never forget the day I was ready to put one down cause it just wouldn't eat, an old timer stopped by, looked at it, and took my leatherman tool and pulled a tooth. Darned thing out ate every other pig on the place.
If I put your theory to our calves, I'd have lost wayyy too many calves to suit me. I lose more than I save but I save enough to make it worth trying.
Later
Ron


JMO Cindi, we're all part    Posted 08-29-2003 at 09:27:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
See I'm more like you than your hubby. I think "the road
to h*ll is paved with good intentions" is the most
accurate adage I've ever come across. Sometimes we
interfere and cause more trouble than good simply
because our hearts demand it.

For instance, I don't feed wildlife because all it does is
give them more energy to produce more offspring to
starve when I'm not out there feeding them. Starvation
is nature' s way of controlling populations - its brutal but
the most effective method.

I don' t feed strays unless I'm willing to keep them or at
least trap and sterilize then release them. Otherwise,
its just like with the wildlife, I'm just garaunteeing them
enough energy to produce more starving strays.

I won't 'rescue' dogs from petstores to save them from
their fates because ultimately if I make selling dogs
profitable for the puppy miller and the dog seller I'm just
garaunteeing another poor pup will take its place.

I am a hard*ss I guess. But I'm here to balance the
softhearted people who have their role too. And so are
you.


Suzy Q    Posted 08-29-2003 at 07:13:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
At first I thought of Wilber in Charlottes Web Story..

Gosh this ended on a Romantic note..got tears
also on this one!!


SusanMo    Posted 08-29-2003 at 06:57:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
aww dangnab it now im gonna cry...but i know where your coming from cindi...my mom was the same way as you when we lived on the farm...mom always was there at 2 or 3 in the morning helping those sows have babies no matter what the weather, she knew those pigs better than they knew themselves lol she would always bring the runt in for us kids (mostly me) there were six of us to try to nurse back...but for the most part it would always be in vain...but we had to try...i think she made us do it just to keep us occupied and keep us out of the hog pens...it always upset us when then didnt make it but we knew that was part of farming. she even gave me a baby chick that we called gimpy he didnt make it either i snatched her cracker basket and all of us kids gave it a funeral and buried it under the hickory nut tree...she still doesnt know where that cracker basket went lol


Jimbob    Posted 08-29-2003 at 07:13:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Aren't humans lucky we get such special care & are very strong mfor the most part.

For example, unlike some sea animals that have less than 1% chance of survival (they get eaten), people most always live to maturity. And, our genetics is so much more superior over other warm blooded animals.

Perhaps these incidents are a message on how lucky most of us are.

Tnx for post Cindi.


Suzy Q    Posted 08-29-2003 at 07:17:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Jimbob I agree. we are indeed the most fortunate
of all GOD'S creation. This was an heart warming story. Nice to see you today!


Jimbob    Posted 08-29-2003 at 10:21:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi there.


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