Posted 12-09-2003 at 14:12:21
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It was about eight days ago when Fred called me outside and said, 'listen to that pig'. It wasn't hard to know right off what he was talking about. She was breathing badly, sounded like a freight train going up hill.
"She's won't make it through the night." He said, and he was right. She was dead the next morning. Even after an antibiotic shot. She was too far gone.
Two things to blame. A nasty little bug and a cold snap. The combination was deadly. Next thing I know we had pigs scattered all over the pasture in various stages of illness. By this time there were two in quarantine and a half dozen others that were lethargic and coughing. I called Doc Shiver and he gave me a treatment schedule, and so it began.
Daphne, one of our best sows, came down with it and Fred was fit to be tied. We had to get her in quarantine and the most remarkable thing about Daphne, other than the fact that she is gorgeous and makes the prettiest piglets (one of hers took Sarasota County grand champion last year) is that she's stubborn and antsy and will break her neck to do the exact opposite of what you want her to do. Every time.
So it was no real surprise when we had to chase her for an hour around the pasture to try and get her to go into the quarantine pen. I tried to give up several times, figured we were doing more harm than good, but Fred would not give up and by the time it was over, she was panting and glassy-eyed and beyond running or even walking anywhere.
"We've killed her for sure." I said, watching her sides heave as she tried to get air into her lungs. Cold, night time air.
It's times like this when my husband shines. Sometimes, and this time was no exception, he does things that convince me that he has lost his mind altogether.
"Nope, we can't give up. If we don't get her where it's warm and get this medicine in her, she's going to die, and I'm not going to let that happen even if I have to push her every step of the way!"
While I watched, assuming the position of the proverbial fifth wheel, Fred got behind her and did exactly that. He wrapped his arms around her considerable behind, and using his thighs he pushed that four hundred and fifty pound sow a minimum of a hundred yards. Finally, when I caught on that his plan was working, I got on her head and did the steering. At one point he glanced up at me panting....
"This feels really unnatural, ya know?" He grunted and gave another shove. I had to laugh out loud.
"Not nearly as unnatural as it looks, I bet."
But he got her there. His perseverance paid off and we took advantage of her exhausted state and while he and Jake penned her against the wall of the quarantine pen, I got a good eighteen cc's of antibiotic in her.
Right now she's out there with the other quarantine pigs fighting and scuffling to get her share of the groceries. She's going to be fine. Thanks to Doc and thanks to Fred and his 'never say die' attitude.