We lost Opie the goat last week.
It seems that he ate something, or too much of something, while browsing in the woods, and got bloat — a condition that basically comes down to a dangerous accumulation of gas in the rumen (goat stomach, basically). He was fine Monday, then oddly fell Tuesday while running with the herd back up to the shed for a few days (they’d exhausted their most recent area in the woods).
He picked himself up and got up the hill to the shed, so we just chalked the fall up to a misstep and decided to keep a close eye on him. By the morning, it was clear that something was wrong – he wasn’t really able to stand at all. The vet got here in time to prevent his immediate death (which was near imminent at that point). Amy learned how to give injections via YouTube and nursed him through Wednesday and Thursday (I was out of town, unfortunately).
By Friday when he was still not eating, drinking, or standing, the vet didn’t see a feasible path to recovery. Based on her observations of him on Friday she suspected that he suffered neurological damage. All parties easily agreed that putting him out of his suffering was the only real option.
The goats are in this funny place as animals. They’re definitely not pets, but they’re not just numbered livestock either. They’ve got personality, and as mammals I think draw a greater bond than, say, a chicken. Opie was calm, friendly, and in my mind was the chill partner to Jax’s more chaotic leadership in the herd. I thought of Opie as the consigliere of the group. He’ll be missed.
After the vet put him down the other three goats came over to sniff Opie. Maybe they were saying goodbye, maybe not. Now there are three.