Source: A Tribute to Bitsy…
It has been much too painful to share this news with you about the loss of sweet Bitsy, who passed away quietly in the wee hours of the morning on May 20th. She was one the most precious beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, at first very needy, eventually lovable, always investigative and cautious, but as sweet as they come. Even the chickens loved her.
She came to me as a 3-month old lamb, withdrawn and sickly due to the lack of the essential ‘immune building’ colostrum from her mother that passed away right after giving birth to her.
Animal Acres rescued hundreds of sheep and goats that were abandoned on a farm in Southern California, many who were barely alive. These three clowns arrived at my farm in No. Arizona in 2005.
Bitsy was my favorite from the beginning, she was needy and withdrawn, but I was able to bottle feed her to help her to gain strength. I’m fairly certain it was the bottle feeding that bonded us, because each time I’d go out to feed she came running, crying out for her meal, and making me feel even more needed than ever – I mean, a woman with no children feeling needed – is there anything better?!
The vet that visited shortly after their arrival warned me that she would struggle with illness most of her life because she missed that precious fluid that mothers provide to offer health to their offspring.
She did struggle, she coughed all the time as a young lamb, and was never as playful as the others. But she made it through 12 healthy and glorious years with me… through hikes in the forest, many, many trips and moves, and other adventures that I wouldn’t have wanted to share without her. She was exceptional as a friend… and who couldn’t love this face.
She passed away from a major infection that occurred in her teat – we gave her pain med’s, plenty of antibiotics and lots and lots of love, but it was just too fierce to erradicate.
I found her in her little safe space in her shelter in the early morning, just before sunrise. It relieves my pain a little knowing she wasn’t alone, she was with her buddies, Joey, Andy, and Amy.
I will miss her always – that face and that silly investigative character of hers. She was always the one that could find an escape route out of any shelter, fence, or enclosure… and of course, she took everyone with her. She was fearless and brave and I have no doubt that she loved me very much.
She was loved by all of us too – the others obviously miss her too. They cling to me more than normal needing extra love. (Front to back: Andy, Amy, Bitsy and JoJo). Bitsy checking me out.
Goodbye Bits – I hope you are running free in a beautiful pasture with trees for shade, and there is plenty of delicious grass, grain, apples, and love. I love you and will always miss your sweet self.
Bitsy the ewe is sick and needs vet care, and even though she is 12-years old, she has a lot of good years of life ahead. Her sheep family, Andy, Joey, and Amy are all healthy and happy, but she is lethargic, not interested in anything going on around her, and not eating much.
Jake, the farm lab is 13 and is suffering with a shoulder injury that is going to require surgery. The x-rays show a dislocated shoulder and the pain he is enduring is obvious.
Farm Animal Haven is a 501c3 farm animal sanctuary that rescues those who have no other place to live, who have endured hardship and abuse, and who just want to be loved and cared for. They live out their lives here, without a care in the world. Here, they blossom from frightened little critters, to confident, loving, and playful individuals.
Please help here: https://www.youcaring.com/farm-animal-haven-606439
My sweet girl passed yesterday so forgive me if I’m sappy and extremely emotional, because I don’t know how to do life without her. I feel as if a limb is missing, as if my heart will never feel normal again, as if my world is spinning out of control.
I’ve never had a dog so loyal, so loving, and so precious, or who loved so unconditionally. The feral kitty (Wild) loved her and would seek her out to cuddle with – but who couldn’t love such a humble and forgiving being.
I put all I had into healing her for these past months, knowing she was sick, but not able to even comprehend her loss, I spent a fortune on remedies, medications, naturopathic doctors and allopathic vets. Anything that I could do, I did. But it only extended the inevitable. She was sick and it was beyond anything I could mend.
I’m not absolutely sure why the loss of a beloved pet is so tragic, perhaps it is the love you receive from them is endless and unconditional – that when you come home, your sweet friend is more excited to see you than any human could ever be. Or, maybe it is because all they seem to want is to be near you. To be with you, by your side, at your feet, in the car, at your desk. To be there in case you need a sweet kiss on the face, or a paw to comfort. I’ve always believed that they speak through the heart/soul… because without words, it’s their only method of communication. I wonder if that is why they touch us so deeply – or maybe, it’s because they are so reliant on us as caregivers. They are like children.
I only know that I will never recover from this loss. In all of my years of having animals, not one has delved so deeply into my heart and soul as Sadie did. We had a special love that was beyond anything I’d experienced before. Dogs are wonderful creatures, but there is always that special one… that one that just gets you and loves you for what seems is beyond the dimension of canine love – and that is always there for you, period. Sadie was that girl. She was humble, timid, respectful, and never ever asked me for anything.
What I am feeling is the definition of grief. I would give up 10 years of my life to see her and smell her again.
To those of you who understand this kind of loss, I am sorry for you. It has me reeling and I know that each day that passes it might get easier, but I’ll never, ever have another Sadie to love and to love me. I will miss her until I am gone, and I can only hope I will see her again in another space and time.
I have so many questions as to why this is so excruciatingly painful, and whether or not I get any relief or explanation, the real answer is, she is gone. My life will never be the same.
If you’ve read about the little orphaned chick that lost her mom in my most recent post, “Mama” you’ll be happy to know that things are looking up for little Orphan Annie. She’s found a friend, a protector, and food locater. His name is Henry. The most incredible rooster I’ve ever met.
Henry is no ordinary rooster, or at least not in the world I’ve been a part. He’s extraordinarily kind, loving, and I believe he is filled with love, and holds a very gentle spirit.
He saw that the little one – Annie – couldn’t get her share of the food, and he stepped up and intervened. What bird does that? Henry does. Since he protected her against the others and allowed her to eat in peace, she barely leaves his side. What is so incredible is that she has nothing to offer him. She’s not of breeding age. She’s not his offspring. She is just a little lost soul who this beautiful rooster decided to take under his wing and help. What bird does that – I must ask again? If you look at this rationally, it is really unfathomable that a rooster would obviously sense that a little chick is orphaned and needs someone to look after her. There are plenty of hens for Henry to protect, to breed, and to hang out with. The hens love him.
Life is amazing on this farm and I seem to learn something new every single day. This newest revelation was worth sharing.
In all of the trials, struggles, financial problems, and pain that comes with operating a farm animal sanctuary there will always be times along the way that will hit you like a brick in the head and cause immeasurable pain.
Nothing I’d experienced in the past could have prepared me for this most recent event, though.
Many months ago I rescued a couple of roosters – Henry and Harold – and discovered that Henry is a rare breed of rooster, a Mottled Java, and close to extinction. I decided that I wanted more of him, so I allowed one of the “broody” hens to lay on an egg I knew was fertilized by him. A baby chick was born not long afterward to a very sweet Golden Wyandotte hen, and all was good with the world.
The two of them were an unbeatable team, with mama continually teaching her chick how to dive in and get morsels of food – and then run like the wind to avoid being bullied by the bigger chickens. When it comes to special treats and specific foods, chickens can be brutal trying to get their share. She taught that sweet baby the best places to scratch and find those delectable bugs and the best roosting spots. The pair always hung around the tree line of the forest because of course – that is where the best bugs hang out and it’s shady in the hot summer sun.
I heard a scuffle out near the tree line recently and the dogs were on alert, so I went to investigate. What I found was simply heartbreaking. A coyote had dragged mama out into the forest leaving a trail of feathers a city block long. I followed them in hopes that I had disrupted the kill and the hen might just be injured but still alive – but couldn’t find any trace of life. Although it was devastating for me, it was evident it was much worse on the little 3 week old chick.
I have difficulty removing human emotion from animal emotion because in my heart and mind I know they are the same… and this baby was genuinely and obviously upset. She was scurrying from one end of that tree line to the other seemingly certain that Mama was there somewhere – never coming down until it was dusk – roosting time.
What the saddest thing of all is her solitary existence now. She’s quite young and still in need of a mama, but she’s all alone in the world and I cry for her deeply. She spotted another Wyandotte hen and literally ran as fast as those little legs would carry her to see her, only to be pushed away, pecked at and scolded.
Her little self is continually searching for her mother as I see her wandering near the tree line just staring into the trees, that little tiny frame just turning her head from side to side – wondering where she went and if she was coming back.
Her first night alone was traumatic. She just couldn’t find comfort anywhere. She tried cuddling up to other chickens on the rails where they sleep, but they weren’t very welcoming. She was being pushed aside and pecked because she’s unfamiliar to them. They like routine and they have their friends they hang with and again, chickens can be brutal.
I did the only thing I could think that would soothe her little soul. I waited until she was settled and I picked her up and held her tightly. I kissed her little beak, and stroked her head and body, holding her close and talking to her until she settled in and began to coo. She needed love and although I was the next best thing to her mama, she got it. I do that every night now, and it soothes my soul as well.
What I learn every day spending time with these amazingly emotional beings, and especially in this incident, is that they feel love, and loss, and joy, and heartbreak. It is as clear as the sky is blue that they are extremely emotional beings. What we force them to endure in those huge factory farm warehouses and farms is unfathomable. One day all of this pain, suffering and torture we inflict on innocent beings will be just a bad dream from the past – I only wish I could awaken from it now. I know the love of these animals and it is extremely special – and they deserve so much better.
A boy who lives on this farm is kind, loving, and a hero of sorts. His name is Henry. He’s endured quite a bit for someone his age, from being tossed aside, to being roughed up by another boy who lives here who I call Harold.
Henry and Harold are roosters. Harold has proven himself as the leader and has pushed Henry aside from the flock in plenty of aggressive interactions, leaving Henry to fend for himself at feeding time, and to look for creative ways to keep his dignity with the hens.
Noticing that this was taking place, I took the liberty of feeding Henry separately, just to be sure he felt included, and got his share of special treats. Although everyone can see that Henry is a big rooster and is probably anxious to get some of those morsels, he uses those treats to bring a few…
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