Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Quiet Barn

I put off this post for a couple of days because I'm still in shock and grieving.

Every day for the last two months I've walked into the barn to the chorus of peeps and quacks. I've carried water, cleaned the pen, fed and cared for the 28 birds at least twice a day every day, and I enjoyed every minute.

I am heartbroken and devastated to report that our dog somehow jumped into the center of the tank and broke through the protective screen. It was a massacre. I wish I wouldn't have got out to look because the tragic image is now burned in my mind.

I know this is part of nature. I knew that it was dangerous to have birds so close to the dogs and cats. I trusted the screen would hold them in and keep other critters out. I even expected I'd loose a few but never did I imagine that I'd have to say goodbye to all but two. Apparently one duck made it and one chick, the kids call "Camo", are still with us.

While I have ill feelings toward Bo right now, I can't hate her; she's saved us from rattlesnake bites on two occasions that we know of and perhaps more that we don't. She watches the kids and does her job of keeping the place secure from coyotes and other unwanted critters. Its hard to love an animal so much only to have her also be the one that promptly ended a long-time goal that was so, so close to being realized.

They were cool birds. I was looking forward to watching them grow and collecting fun, colored eggs. Their new home will be done this weekend. All that work, effort, time and money is down the drain and there's not one thing I have to show for it except a severely bruised heart.

I don't regret bringing them home. They were a joy to watch, listen to and care for. I've always told my children its the experience, not the outcome that is important. This one is tough to take.

I haven't had the heart to go visit the survivors. I can barely walk by the tank, and whenever I think about it, tears well up in my eyes.

I know I need to "get back in the saddle" and find more chicks. I know this but I feel beaten down and utterly defeated.

This has been a rough week. I backed into a panel trailer and dinged the bumper, the goats got six of my bed tomato plants and I sliced my ankle with rusty barb wire. Its easy to focus on all that's gone wrong lately. Its one of those weeks I have to wonder what I am doing and why. Gut check time. I honestly didn't want to write this post but if it somehow helps someone who's gone through or is going through a rough patch, well, then its worth it. Life ain't all roses......sometimes it really crappy.

In all the pain, sadness and defeated feelings I know that I will heal. I haven't shared with many people, I tend to clam up, shut down and isolate. Its an old pattern than I am releasing. Writing this blog helps a lot. Those I have told, have been sincerely supportive and reinforces my belief in the power of love and the human heart. Their kinds words, hugs and encouragement gives me hope when I'm really tempted to throw in the towel and walk away.

This wound is deep and it stings. The quiet barn is so quiet. I expect to heal; right now I'm just giving myself permission to feel all that's here, free of judgment. I invite your thoughts and prayers to be with my family. I've written from my perspective but really we were all invested in this project.

It may seem silly to cry over chickens, but anyone who's cared for an animal(s) knows what it means to carry the responsibility of their life and well being on your shoulders. When things go right, there's no greater feeling and when things don't, you feel the depths of a sadness that you may not want. No one does.


  1. oh...honey...i am so sorry....I know that there are no words to comfort now, but know that you are all in my thoughts and that i am sending lots of love and light your way.

    love you all...annie

  2. Animals I swear can be the cause of the deepest & greatest heartaches, but then the source of some of the greatest joys, too! We have to experience them both in life when we are blessed enough to have them! Prayers & hugs to you, Robyn & especially the kids! Don't give up on your dreams...

  3. You are right when you say that it was an act of Nature, this is true. The issue of course, other than having to walk in on the scene, is that you blame yourself for trusting in products rather than your own intuition.

    I don't think I've shared much with you, but many years ago, my cat, meaning "my" cat- the one that would do healing with me, visit with clients, the cat that while I had a house full of other cats was MY cat, contracted distemper and died brutally and quickly from a bad vaccine. Just minutes before the vet appointment, I was compelled to take a pic of her- she was young, about 18 months old, and showed no signs of sickness. It was, as vets call it, a yearly check up to get the shots the city require in order to own cats.

    I saw the pic and was a bit weirded out- I sat her on a glass display case and the image of a knife pointing right at her neck was visible. i considered it an illusion and placed her in the cage and left.

    The vet had an intern with her, and he ultimately gave the shot, which was right at the point where the photo showed the reflection. Quickie hissed violently, so unlike her nature, and a lightbulb went off- something is wrong with that vaccine, or will go wrong because of that vaccine.

    I pelted the vet, not the intern, with a bunch of questions, and she looked at me quite perplexed. I go there all the time with all my pets, and this was the same shot she and the others get every year.

    The next morning I woke up to find Quickie in the bathroom sink. She was trembling and had messed herself poorly. The lower portion of the walls were messed, having lost the ability to control her bowels and hold down food. She was on the brink of death. I called the vet immediately, and said this is serious, the cat must have been poisoned, or have eaten something poisonous. She told me to put on gloves, cage her, do not touch any other cats, and she was pretty sure she knew what it was.

    The vet took one look at her as said- "distemper". She even asked if I had an herbal rememdy for it, because she did not have any option other than euthanize. I asked her to hold Quickie, to not euthanize, and allow me time to go home to see if I could research such a remedy, if it existed. About an hour later she called to tell me she passed.

    For days, weeks, I was a basket case, and went through every emotion from sadness to anger and self-blame. I took a vacation, in fact I had never taken a real vacation before then and not one since- and after 2 weeks in Sedona, I was better able to face my world.

    I did not realize it at the time, but it was her passing that ultimately inspired me to open my website, continue my training, and ultimately become an ND. I voluntarily work with pets, primarily cats, that have a terminal diagnosis or a condition that has no cure in the modern veterinary practice, in hopes I can offer assistance, alleviate pain, or just prolong life.

    I also know she is with me. I see her, hear her as she speaks to me, and has inspired me in ways that her physical presence never would have.

    Somewhere in the future, you will understand why this happened. Allow yourself to feel what you feel and give yourself time to heal and face it all.

    Just know you are loved by many and always ask for assistance as needed. We are all here for you.
    Dawn Grey

  4. It will get better. We only hurt because we have the ability to care so deeply. (((Love you))) Aunt Patty

  5. I am so, so sorry. I had tears reading this. My heart is with you all. With time all will heal and you have those pictures. Eventually you will pick up the pieces of the broken heart and start again. I know your heart aches and you are such an animal person that your soul is really wonded. You will find peace with time. I am here for you my sweet friend and your family. Love you all.

  6. Robyn, my heart cries with you, thank you for sharing with us. I know, as do you, there are better days and you will write about them again! Thanks again for writing about the times that just "suck". Healing to you, my friend! Lucy

  7. I want to thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Chad just read your notes and he too had tears in his eyes too. Though this hasn't been any easy week, we are reminded just how blessed and supported we are. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and sincere words, they mean so very much to me (us)!