August....where have you gone??? I had fully planned on making a post about our crazy yet amazing week at Skagit County Fair. But it took me a full week to recover from that. And just when I thought I was good to go, a whopper of a week smacked me in the face. Family, farm, and work threw me for loop, yet again. Maybe I should get used to it by now!
The first weekend in August my folks came down from Kelowna, BC to stay for the weekend. It was a great time as always and I was so thankful for a little family down time. During their stay our beloved Gloucestershire Old Spot boar, Fergus, went down. We went out to feed Saturday, the 4th, and he was not able to get up. He was coherent, wanting to eat and drink, but couldn't get his legs out from underneath him. We started him on Dexamethasone, a steriod, and LA300, an antibiotic. Despite doing this, we saw no improvement over a 10 day period of this. Mind you this was happening during our busiest week ever at fair and my poor husband was the one taking care of the farm. He hand fed Fergus apples, a slurry of milk and grain, and water trickling from the hose. We had to keep moving a calf hut over him so he wouldn't get sunburned. He would try and get up but just end up flopping around everywhere. We kept trying to get him on his feet or flip him to his other side but he would always stumble and go right back to laying on his right side. It was pitiful and I was feeling terrible that yet again, we were possibly prolonging the inevitable due to our emotions. Tuesday the 14th we had Dr. Paul Schwab out to examine, euthanize, and perform a necropsy on Fergus. He advised us to save our money, not perform a necropsy, because it appeared that what Fergus was going through was mainly neurological. Most likely a middle ear infection that had gone to his brain or possibly a stroke. I was so thankful for his honest advice and giving us peace mind that we were making the right decision and that this was very unlikely something contagious. From there, we planned on putting him down ourselves. Unfortunately Nate was on night shift and needed to get to work after the vet left. It worked out OK though because I had to work the next day and I really didn't want to be there for it. That night I said my goodbyes to Fergus. I did what I could to make him comfortable, fed him more apples, rubbed his belly, hugged him, and balled my eyes out. That moment is when I truly realized what these pigs mean to me. It is hard to explain when you raise pigs to sell as weaner piglets or raise them from birth to butcher. I am always sad to see them go but I am content with what I have provided for them and for others. But this was different. This was a waste. This was suffering. We loved him. Our breeding pigs are like family members. And Fergus has been such a special pig. He is sweet, laid back, gentle and the best boar we have had so far. I felt like I was losing a dog, a member of our little family.
The next day I went to work as planned but feeling bad for what Nate had to do that day alone. On my lunch break I got some very sad news that my Uncle Greg had passed away. He had been battling cancer for quite sometime and had been in so much pain over the last years. I was relieved his suffering was over but hurt so badly for my Auntie and cousins. My Uncle Greg was such an amazing man....I was crying on my way back to work in the car trying to get some kind of composure and what popped into my mind was my Uncle Greg playing his guitar, making that funny face he did sticking his tongue out while strumming along. I just laughed. I knew he wouldn't want us to be so unhappy about this. It still is so very sad but I know he is in such a better place now. I have some pretty amazing memories to hold onto. Especially from this summer. Getting to see him have his Father/Daughter dance at my beautiful cousins wedding. And that he got to walk her down the isle. It was such an emotional and glorious thing to witness.
I continued to work the rest of the day to help keep my mind occupied. My co-workers were also very understanding and helpful, putting me in a better mood. Towards the afternoon I happened to check my phone. I had a message from Nate....
I couldn't freaking believe it! Could I possibly get more of an emotional roller coaster in one day!?! I looked like a crazy person crying tears of joy over a boar! Needless to say, Nate didn't go through with putting Fergus down. He was like a wobbly drunk but he was up! Here we were, feeling terrible that we had put this off for so long. That we had planned on him being put down on Tuesday but had waited until Thursday. And then he was up! It has still been a slow process for him and he has become a little spoiled with not having much interest in grain but eating any kind of people food we offer to him. It was quite comical because by the weekend he was walking around putting his nose right in the sows girly bits seeing if they were ready for a poke! I am hopeful that he will continue to make a full recovery but I have still been nervous. He better just continue to prove us wrong and show us his resilience in all of this.
Thursday night after work I decided that after all of the emotional ups and downs, a drink was well deserved. I went and bought a bottle of scotch, Balvenie 12 year if your curious. It was more money than I ever spend on booze normally but it was a special day. We had a dram in honor of my Uncle Greg and in celebration of Fergus. I have felt my Uncle Greg and my Nana and Grandpap around me this week. I am so happy that I can feel them but do miss them so much and wish I could give them just one more hug. My hope is that I can do well by my loved ones, whether they are here on earth or up in heaven. It's been a week of much reflection regarding that. Because you never know what the next day can bring. So CHEERS!