Saturday, 11 February 2017


I will now be slightly boring, extremely critical and even a bit political.

The first two come naturally to me but politics is something I don't find to be very interesting and I'm clearly not good at it. The trouble is that I fear I'm not alone with this particular affliction.

It all started with Mindy being ill. We tried in vain to get a vet to come out and see her, during the weekend. On Monday morning I still got the same questions about her eating habits, but not much offer of help. By midday I had enough and pointed out to the vet that when Mindy stops eating, the game is probably over for her. The vet turned up two hours later, checked, medicated and left us with a weeks’ worth of penicillin, syringes and a syringe filled with some painkiller.

I have never injected anything into anyone and I strongly believe that that's how it should be. I have no training as a nurse and I'm a little uneasy around needles. Dear husband can't even look at a needle, so as the A-team for Mindy's welfare, we left a lot to be desired.

I spent the night going over all the options; who we could call in to help, how many days we could ask of them and what to do about Wednesday when two injections were needed. Dear husband had called around and it all seemed a bit desperate, to be honest. In the morning, I spoke to one of our long-suffering neighbors who is of the "get on with it" school of thinking, so I did just that.

Mindy is kind and lovely and apart from the day I accidentally pushed the needle into my finger, we muddled through. The first days were easier as Mindy was feeling a bit poorly but by the end of the week she seemed much stronger and wanted to walk away from it all. We all felt the same way and it was an enormous relief when the last dose of penicillin was injected.

Mindy is showing signs of getting better and my dear husband has been the best help for her, all through the week. Him being the calmest, kindest man on earth helps me a lot, too.

What makes me slightly irritated, though, is the fact that three days had to pass before help arrived. On the Monday in question our town had one vet doing all the work. She still managed to be calm and kind but her work load must have been massive. It did surprise me that she assumed we could do the medication ourselves but maybe that is how most owners of farm yard animals operate. What if someone got the same situation thrown at them and didn't want to admit defeat? Would that animal not get help? Mostly I worry that I will do something wrong and poor Mindy will pay for it. We have clearly become a town where money is being saved on care, be it caring of animals or humans.

I needed help from a town nurse, last December. I called about a pain and asked to be directed to the right person. Two hours later they called back to tell me they could help me next week. I obviously chose to seek treatment elsewhere but it made me wonder how times have changed. We can no longer rely on help being offered when needed, not for humans or for animals and as farm animals seldom go privately, it's an unnerving thought. Dogs and cats, as humans, have a range of private clinics nearby to choose from, but sheep stand alone in this money saving, new world. It's a chilling thought and something needs to be done about it.

I never thought I would sit down and complain about this, that and the runaway cat, but it turns out that I was wrong. It just seems that today's mentality is to look out for yourself, your life, your money and it's accepted as the norm. Small people (as in nice, no fuss human beings), small animals as the larger ones too, must fend for themselves. If all goes well, someone might turn up next week, if they have time.

I have no complaints about the actual care, Mindy got. The town vet who arrived is very good and our animals trust her. The point is, that by saving money and resources, the end of the week vets are being shared by many towns. This means, that driving around the countryside is too time consuming for them and prioritising kicks in. So, small, hobby sheep get pushed far back in the queue. 

It was funny to see how concentrated I had to be, to get through my week of needle work, though. (Some bad nurse humour). When the last day of medication was over, I just relaxed so thoroughly that my speaking ability suffered. I could not put together a string of words that made any sense and poor husband just looked even more tired. The affliction passed, eventually and we got back to being a communicating team. Mindy just munched through her food, giving me suspicious glances from time to time. I fully understood her and just told her that you really must look long and hard to find kinder animals, than our lot. They fully agreed and continued with their eating.

P.s. A few days later our dear sheep popped out to check that all was well in the yard. I was tending to the hens when I heard Mandy call for help and rushed out to see. In less than ten minutes our dear Mandy had managed to get a proper sized branch of a Spruce, wedged inside her ear tag. There she was running with the branch following her and she was frightened and a bit confused. Mandy is permanently confused so adding fear to that is not nice!

I called her over and she came, but did not allow me to touch the branch long enough to detach her from it. I started working on plan B, when Molly called over from the stable door. She was right. Once we all went inside, Mandy was safe, calm and ate half the offending object, once it was removed. A sheep can get into trouble in the blink of an eye but as a team they are sometimes very good at solving the situation. I am learning more, all the time...

Mindy sends her love.

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