After attempting to feed the little bugger for hours upon hours, we knew it wasn't going to end well. The vet had already been consulted, the little guy had already not responded well to treatments. Something was just plain wrong.
The next morning Rob and I arrived to find him barely alive, gasping, tongue hanging out. But his tail wagged when I approached and petted him. Feeling like I had to at least try something I went to the house to make a small bottle. When I returned a few moments later, he took his last breath.
It was like he waited all night for us to return so he wouldn't die alone.
It was awful. No mother should witness a babe - of any species - die. It was heart-wrenching. I sat with him a while. Rob waited quietly, patiently. He called my sister, the real farmer. I couldn't talk.
We decided to bury him down in the farm's stone quarry, and we got the tractor and set to work. I didn't bring my camera - that just wouldn't be right - but it was something to see the other cows and calves gather round and watch. There were several times Rob couldn't even move the tractor because the cows wouldn't move out of the way.
There was nothing to be done for that little guy. As Caren said, something was just wrong, and he knew it. It didn't make it any easier to lose him, but at least he wasn't alone.
The cows on our farm aren't just products - they're live beings, treated with love and care. They're used to people, and they're used to wide-open spaces and sunshine and organic grasses. And their well-being isn't taken lightly around here.
These days I understand a little more about why farmers are a crusty lot. It's not always a walk in the park, this farmin' business, and that's coming from me, not even a real farmer, but the occasional poser fill-in. I know my sister and her husband carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, muddling through these early years, learning. Just thought you should know that.