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breaking point

September 18, 2007

it’s been a tough month out at the sanctuary. we’ve lost so many cherished animals.

eugene steer, charlotte pig, rayray steer, maverick steer, polly hen, and today, billy calf.

most of the animals listed above were on the older side, but charlotte and billy were babies. charlotte was barely a year old, if that. charlotte was one of the veterinary medical school teaching tools. there were six of them that we had rescued, and they had all been given hernia’s, and then those hernia’s were repaired. badly. anyway, we lost one of those piglets a few months ago because of those botched repairs, and last week we lost charlotte. charlotte’s back legs just stopped working and they believe it to be caused by white muscle disease, a vitamin e deficiency. that was a tough call. the rest of charlotte was working, but those highly important back legs were not.

billy was one of the three calves that we’d rescued about 7 or 8 months ago. there was billy, casey, and phoenix. there were actually four of them but the fourth one didn’t make it. they were all doing so well and growing so big, but today billy had become bloated, a common sight for animals that have eaten too much of the wrong thing. the caregivers noticed it, started treating it, and within a half hour he was on his way to the vet. after ten minutes of being there, he died. everyone is in shock because, well, it’s so sudden. billy is at the vet, being given a necropsy so we can find out what caused his untimely death. the first vet who checked him out seemed to think it was a hole in his esophagus or trachea, but we won’t know that for a couple of weeks.

on top of all of that, and i know i’m just repeating myself here, but tasha has definitely taken a real turn for the worse. every monday when i come in i don’t know what to expect, because i haven’t seen her since friday late afternoon. this morning she looked terrible. i mean, she’s been slowly looking terrible, but it really hit me today. for those who don’t know, tasha has a tumor attached to her jaw, and it is something that we cannot fix or make better. the tumor grows every single day, and it’s gotten to the point now where it’s literally pulling on the top half of her face. so the left side of her face is going one way, and the bottom right side is going another. she can’t close her mouth, so her tongue hangs out on the right side. on her left side, her gums and upper teeth are completely exposed and swollen. she is a complete mess, not having been able to clean herself for about three months now. if you know tasha, you know she likes to be pristine and perfectly white. her fur is caked with saliva and food juice, mixed with dirt and blood. sometimes i cannot stand to look at her, which makes me feel so awful inside. today, every time i looked at her i started to cry. she’s lost so much weight and she is skin and bones now. i think the caregivers are going to have their healthcare meeting this week, and tasha is going to be brought up. i think the decision will finally have to be made, and i’m not looking forward to it. i don’t want to say goodbye. and she’s still pretty young! she’s only around 11-12 years old, which, to me, is a pretty young age for a cat.

her brother, mishka, is having some sort of renal problem now, although he is fat and healthy and it’s hard to imagine him ending up the same as tasha.

so, after a long day of crying and crying and not being able to stop and think, i decided to treat myself to a burrito. i was waiting for my food to come out, suppressing tears, and the next customer comes in and orders a chicken burrito. the guy behind the counter (with an excessively loud voice) tells him that the spicy pork burrito is fantastic.

a long time ago, sometime last year or maybe the year before, i was in the post office and heard all this chirping from the back. i knew what it meant; hundreds of chicks were being delivered to someone in orland, and they were being held at the post office. this was right around the time of the airline rescue, so the images and facts were fresh in my mind. as i stood there in line, for what seemed like hours and hours, i felt my body shutting down and the only feeling rising up in me was the feeling that i wanted to scream at everyone in the place and ask them how they can sit there and make jokes about all the baby birds in the back room. when i finally got through the line and made my purchase, i was shaking and just on the verge of tears. i just barely made it out the doors before i burst out into hysterics. i sat in the car for about ten minutes, just crying, although it felt like an eternity.

this is what i was feeling inside the restaurant tonight. losing billy was tough, losing charlotte was tough, losing those steers was tough, and these people are ordering pork and chicken and raving about how fucking good it is?! i just kept thinking, “WHEN THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE GOING TO GET IT?!” i’m so sick of feeling like i’m the only one who gets it. i mean, there are other vegans and animal rights activists out there, but when you encounter shit like this, you feel so fucking alone. when is the rest of the world going to wake up? what do i have to do to get it through their heads?

you can always tell when i’m getting worked up about something because the curse words come a-flyin’.

anyway, it’s been a long day. i’m enjoying a margarita or two, the company of my cats, and hashing out my thoughts on this here blog. thanks for listening.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. billygene permalink
    September 19, 2007 10:17 pm

    your back! I feel your pain about the people talking about pork food and chicken salad etc… Everyone at work knows I dont eat animals, yet they keep on telling me about the good meat they had.

    “WHEN THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE GOING TO GET IT?!”

    You couldn’t have said it any better.

    post when you will be on ecotalk. We here listen to randy over the ‘net.

  2. Jocelyn permalink
    September 20, 2007 4:10 pm

    Ugh – oh god. Sorry, Sarah. Sounds like you had a rough day. You only kept it to a couple of margaritas? Pretty good, after a day like that. I’m so sad that I never even got to meet Billy. I’m sure he was sweet. And poor Tasha, that is just hearbreaking. I can’t wait to start hearing some happy animal stories…it seems that there just aren’t as many of those. =(

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