photo by Sheri Dixon

Friday, March 23, 2012

One More Shot

I own a gun. Actually I own two guns. I'm not a gun nut, nor do I love my guns anymore than I love my hammer or blender. They're tools.

When I got them, I learned how to use them with passable accuracy and total safety.

I do not enjoy shooting at targets for fun. I do not enjoy the noise involved.

When a chicken snake needs dispatched, I can do it.

If I'm around when something is trying to kill my livestock, I can stop it.

I'd never used one on something I knew personally.

Until today.

We had a bad experience with stray dogs getting into our nanny goat pen a few weeks before everyone was due to have babies. We were gone, the guard dogs were on the other side of the property for just a few minutes and the electric fence wasn't plugged in. It only took a minute, but that's all they needed.

We lost one adult nanny, 2 others had their ears shredded and 2 had their babies very prematurely. The elder of those was an experienced mother and has thus far been raising her babies admirably. The other was a first-timer and didn't have a clue, especially under stress. She had twins. One died that day and the other one I started bottle feeding.

From the first, he looked poorly. His eyes were milky with cataracts, but he ate heartily.

After a few weeks the eyes started to clear and we became hopeful of his full recovery and future progress.

One day last week he couldn't get up. I thought perhaps he'd been stepped on inadvertently and crossed my fingers. He didn't get up.

A few days ago the vet came out for something else and he looked at the little goat- still down. He thought MAYBE infection or vitamin deficiency and left me with a long-acting antibiotic and a few days' worth of injectable vitamins. If those things didn't work- and if they were going to work it would be almost immediate- the likelihood was organ failure from being a preemie.

He didn't get better.

He got progressively worse and this morning he not only wasn't standing, but he was also grinding his teeth- in "goat" that means "I'm hurting very bad constantly and this is the only outlet I have for the pain".

When I went out at lunchtime I had 2 things- a bottle and my gun.

Baby goat drank most of the bottle between teeth grindings and I laid him in the sun a good ways from the barn so as not to upset the other animals. I told him he was a very strong brave goat and that we both tried our best. He hadn't liked the antibiotic and vitamin injections- I'm sure they stung like a son of a bitch.

I'd fed him 3 times a day for a month and I'm the Queen of the Earth Mothers. This was my baby. Not to mention there's nothing in the world as cute as a baby goat.

My clinically trained brain went over it one more time objectively as he blinked at me, grinding his teeth, unable to even straighten his legs- if this was just any goat coming into our clinic I knew the answer- he was not going to get better. My only other options were

a) keep feeding him till he died a painful wasting organ-failure death

b) take him into the clinic where he'd never been and full of strange smells and people and hold him down struggling while they found a vein for the final injection

I sighed, told him again that he's a good goat- just one more shot and he wouldn't hurt anymore.

And he didn't. It was instant- not a twitch or a whimper.

Guns are tools. They're not toys. They're not status symbols.They're not video game controllers. They're not penis extensions.

When you point one at something and it goes "bang", whatever you are pointing at gets dead.

Dead is irreversible.

I own 2 guns. They're the tools I hate the most.


  1. So sorry Sheri! I know just how you feel and sometimes doing the right thing just sucks, but if it didn't hurt you so much then maybe you shouldn't have animals in the first place.

  2. I'm so sorry. That it hurts so much shows just how loving and compassionate your heart is. We give our hearts away to animals because they give us theirs without question. When they let us into their lives they trust us to do the right thing, to care for them, to keep them safe, and to keep them from pain. It's a horrible decision but it is made with love. Guns aren't toys they are did the right thing dear friend.

  3. I concur with all of the above. Peace my friend.