Thursday, February 8, 2018

In Memory of Mina

In 2009 I decided to take matters into my own hands and get myself a Valentine’s Day present. Jason has many fine qualities but gift giving isn’t one of them and he likes to “forget” to get gifts. When I told him I was going to pick out my own gift he was thrilled and didn’t really question me further. A few days later I showed him pictures of the two registered fainting goat kids I had picked out and purchased. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he was unhappy about it and kept repeating that we didn’t need anymore “dependents” or “mouths to feed.” I told him he could protest all he wanted but it was too late, they were purchased, and he should have picked out a gift himself.


A week after Valentine’s Day we brought home two fainting goat kids. I will never forget the ride home from Butthead Farms with our goat kids in the back of our Tahoe.  In Jason’s words, “It was sluicing rain and on the way home a tractor trailer threw up a tremendous wave of water that hit the side window of the Tahoe with considerable force. The girls were riding home relatively calmly with only occasional bleating when the water hit the window. When that happened they fainted and all we heard was THUD, THUD as they both hit the floor. At that point Melissa started to cry. I asked her why she was crying and she said she was sad because they fainted. I pointed out (I was in full blown asshole mode at this point) that we (she) had just paid $500.00 for two goats....she specifically wanted fainting goats.....when non papered meat goat kids were fetching roughly $25 each at our local sales barn. I also pointed out that fainting goats FAINT when they get scared.....and the fact they fainted ought not to come as a total surprise. “ That was how “the girls” came into our lives.

Jo and Mina on their first day as WebbPets

baby Mina

Jo and Mina enjoying one of their first outings as WebbPets

Jason insisted on naming the girls Wilhelmina and Josephine. I told him that I wasn’t calling my goat kids that all the time, so we settled on Mina and Jo for their “barn” names. We both fell in love with Mina and Jo in short order, and I think Jason may have fallen for the goats the hardest of all. We spent a few days getting to know them in a stall. In Jason’s words, “we read a lot of stuff online about how to make goats comfortable with people, and we learned that goats are crazy about raisins and most goats like to be brushed. We also found that they were very fond of Mrs. Pastures cookies for horses. Jo very quickly learned that raisins and brushing were great. Mina quickly came around to the raisin treats but she was pretty shy about getting brushed. The only way she would allow it was if one of us fed her raisins while the other one hid behind a chair and brushed her by reaching around the chair. Eventually the chair was no longer needed as Mina’s favorite thing in life was to be brushed.”

Mina standing immobile and in a trance-like state while being brushed

Mina peeking around the barn door

Jason supervising Mina and Jo while they played on a tree stump

We put them out in the goat paddock during the day and then brought them into a stall at night. In the mornings we would run from the stall to the paddock with the goats running along behind us. In the evenings we would walk from the paddock to the stall with our goat kids following. We always ended the day by giving the goats a thorough brushing. Mina loved to be brushed so much that she would enter into a trance-like state while being brushed. She would become immobile and seriously food-motivated Mina would refuse treats while being brushed.  Mina lived to be brushed.

Jo, Mina, Bubba and Miss Lyle having a lazy afternoon

Jason hanging out with Jo, Mina and Miss Lyle

Mina playing on the ramps in the goat pen

young Mina with her Winnie the Pooh ball

Mina lived a pretty adventurous life for a fainting goat which I wrote about in many blogs.  One of Mina’s most memorable adventures included breaking her leg, chewing her cast off, and having to have a second surgery to re-repair her leg and replace the custom made splint. We told the vet there would not be a third surgery, and Mina wore the cone of shame for six weeks while her leg healed.

Mina wearing the cone of shame after having her SECOND surgery to repair and splint her broken leg

the World's Cutest Fainting Goats and Bubba didn't know what to make of the small child in the walker

Mina was very fussy about transportation and easily got motion sickness. In fact Mina was fussy about everything which led to her nickname Mina the Tsarina. Her most approved form of transportation was riding around in the back of my mom’s Mercedes SUV. Mina would happily look out the window and enjoy the ride. The two times she rode in the stock trailer (gasp) she was so motion sick that she acted like she was drunk for awhile after arriving at her destination.  She would tolerate the horse trailer, but really anything short of a luxury SUV simply did not meet her standards for transport.

Jason in the stock trailer with the goats the day we moved them from my parents' farm to our farm

Mina's expression was of disbelief. "You really expect me to ride in a stock trailer?"

When we arrived at our farm the other goats were fine and ready to get off. Mina on the other hand was so motion sick she looked like she had passed out.

the other goats bounded off the trailer while Mina staggered to her feet

Mina still trying to get her bearings. In Mina the Tsarina style she had to think about it for awhile and decide if she was ready to get off the trailer.

In addition to running up several impressive vet bills over the last nine years, Mina was also good for one human visit to the emergency room. When we moved the goats from my parents’ farm to our farm, we first put them in their stall at their old farm. Then Jason carried the goats one at a time and put them in the stock trailer. Since Mina was such an avid eater she was – ahem – quite fat. I could tell that Jason was struggling a bit when he hefted Mina into his arms and carried her to the trailer. A few hours later Jason was sitting at our kitchen table red-faced and sweating from chest pain. I told him he needed to be at an emergency room ASAP in case he was having a heart attack (Jason’s family has a significant history with serious and lethal heart issues). He told me he was pretty sure he had pulled a muscle carrying Mina around but I told him with his family history he was crazy not to get checked out. One trip to the ER later, Jason did have a pulled muscle courtesy of Mina.

Miss Lyle and Mina having a lazy summer day

Jason having his morning coffee with Jo and Mina

Carter and Mina

Carter handing out treats to the goats

On New Year’s Day 2018, Mina was perfectly fine in themorning but by lunchtime was in severe respiratory distress. We immediately got on the phone with a livestock vet and begged him to see our goat. We drove Mina to his office and he was very thorough in his physical exam, including passing a tube to her stomach. Nothing untoward was found despite her severe distress. He loaded her up with a smorgasbord of drugs and sent her home. He told us she would either be a lot better within three hours or dead. Thankfully Mina picked the first option and got a lot better. Unfortunately she never got completely better and she had three more vet visits through the month of January. Mina had all sorts of diagnostics done from x-rays and ultrasounds to ng tubes, rectal exams and bloodwork. We never got a definitive diagnosis but we did get a lot of drugs for Mina that seemed to bring slow but steady improvement.

Jason and Ewen hanging out with the World's Cutest Fainting Goats

Mina, Jo and Miss Lyle were self service with the hay

Mina and Miss Lyle eating hay with enthusiasm

Jason with a very young Jo and Mina

Unfortunately, this past Saturday, Mina went dramatically backwards after a month of slow improvement. It was so dramatic and so terrible we knew it was time to end this fight. Mina’s eyes also let us know loud and clear that she was tired, scared, and done. The only humane option was immediate euthanasia. While Jason went to the house and got a rifle I sat with Mina and brushed her. She calmed down some, but the look of terror and exhaustion in her eyes remained. Jason graciously let me go to the house while he ended her suffering.

Mina, Miss Lyle and Jo getting ready to start their day

Jo and Mina ready for treats from Jason

Jo, Mina and Miss Lyle

Mina was always ready to brushed, rubbed, petted and scratched

In Jason’s words, “Mina and Jo came into our lives at a time when our business was thriving, but for various reasons that I'm not going to discuss we were each having our personal battles. During those first years we spent countless hours brushing, grooming, playing with and watching Mina and Jo and later Miss Lyle too, when she came to us. To a surprising degree they reciprocated our friendship and affection. By doing so they helped us through a tough time in our lives and for that we will both be forever grateful. Goats are every bit as intelligent and affectionate as dogs and both Melissa and I had (and have) the same sort of bond with the goats that many people, including us, have with their dogs. Knowing that, perhaps you can imagine just how hard it was to load a gun, place it at Mina's head, and at point blank range instantly end her life. I am unashamed to admit that when it was over I vomited up my supper and then sat down on the muddy ground to cry like I haven't done since I was a boy. And I've cried a lot of tears since, too. If I never have to do that with a beloved pet again it won't be too soon to suit me.”

The World's Cutest Fainting Goats letting me know I wasn't letting them out of their pen fast enough. Mina, far right, was the most unhappy.

the World's Cutest Fainting Goats enjoying wandering around the farm

Jason handing out raisins to Miss Lyle and Mina

When Norman first joined us several years ago he had free run of the farm for a bit while he decided what pasture would suit him best. One day he wandered into the goat stall. Mina followed him since she did not approve of a pony in her stall.

The World’s Cutest Fainting Goats now number two instead of three.  May you rest in peace Mina the Tsarina. I hope there is an abundance of raisins, Mrs. Pastures cookies, green grass, and minions to brush you and tell you you’re pretty. We miss you very much.


Lori Skoog said...

I'm so sorry Mina lost her fight. You and Jason sure had a lot of love for her, just as you do for all your animals. It sounds like you did everything possible to give her a chance. We have had three goats and I agree, they were no different than the dogs. They frequently went with us for walks...even when we were cross country skiing. They would step on the back of our skies. Peace.

Lisa said...

Oh poor Mina. She had such a wonderful life with you guys. I'm so glad Jason was able to give her the greatest and last gift.

Sarah said...

I am so sorry to hear :(

Unknown said...

I am so very sorry for your loss of dear Mina. Jason, you are a much braver person than I. No way could I do it myself ~ {{HUGS}} to you. She lived a life well loved and has left you so many happy memories.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

A lovely tribute. I always enjoyed reading about the world's cutest fainting goat. So sorry for your loss. :( Mina was quite the character.

It takes guts to put your own animal down. Not long ago I had to do away with an extremely menacing rooster, who I had zero good feelings about - other than he was extraordinarily handsome - tears were shed and apologies made...

Nancy J said...

Jason, the most honourable, loving and thoughtful act of all in your life.And the hardest of all. I hope memories of darling Mina will be in both your hearts, and tide you over the huge loss. A loving tribute to a dear wee fainting goat. Hugs from NZ.

Vivian S. Vetere said...

I am so sorry about your loss of dear Mina. Jason, I could not do it but I know your farming heritage saw you through. May she rest in peace.

Val said...

A very moving tribute. Thank you for sharing Mina with us.