Sunday, October 21, 2012

AMOS - PART 3

As I said in the last blog, Amos had aspirated again!  I spent another evening sitting in his pen with him, feeling hopeless.  I felt like I was losing him, and I had  no clue how to stop it.  I sat looking at his sweet little face and those 2 big silly-looking teeth on the bottom. I reached over to touch his teeth and see if they were still loose, and I saw a piece of straw sticking out the side of his mouth.  I pulled it out, and it was about 10 inches long! It had to go halfway down his throat! I felt the other side of his mouth, and sure enough, there was another piece of straw.  It was just as long as the first one I pulled out!  I swept my finger across the back of his tongue and right in the middle I thought I felt something.  I barely was able to grab just the tip of it and I started to pull.  Very slowly, I pulled...and pulled....and pulled. By the time I was done I pulled a wad of straw out of his tiny little throat that was half the size of a baseball!  That was why he was eating so slow and why he was aspirating!  I checked his throat again, and unbelievably, there was another smaller wad still in there! I carefully pulled that out too! He was instantly breathing easier....go figure!  Then, I realized something.  I had just posted this really cute video of Amos snoring the night before.  The lesson here - before you post a really cute video of your cow snoring...check to make sure he isn't actually choking to death first!  I just have to remember how tiny he is!  Anything can still go wrong!  Here's a picture of Amos at 3 weeks old with a calf that isn't even 24 hours old yet!



 Well, I went to bed, but couldn't sleep at all.  I kept thinking that Amos was going to choke to death through the night.  So, I got up at 2am with what I thought was a great idea!  I put a sheet over the straw!  That way, Amos still had a soft bed, but he couldn't eat the straw!  So, I found some old sheets that I kept (why I kept twin sheets, I don't know.  We haven't had a twin bed in 10 years!).  I covered the straw with the sheet and put Amos back in his new pen.  As you can see in the video, Amos wasn't very happy with the change:


video

Amos really didn't like the sheet, and he clearly took it out on his stuffed pig!  The next morning he was still doing great.   No choking!  No straw in his throat!  I was very proud of myself!  My husband, though, walked out into the breezeway, saw the sheet and came back into the kitchen. He looked at me and said "In all my years of farming, I've never seen anything like that before..."  Then he just shook his head and left...He really shouldn't be that surprised.  I mean, he knows me pretty well.  After all, we've been married almost 25 years.  He shouldn't really be surprised at all!  The only problem with the sheet is that Amos pees a lot, so the sheet gets really wet.  With the straw, at least the liquid fell to the floor, and the straw kept him relatively dry. So, I get another sheet.  And another.  I end up having to change the sheets 3 or 4 times a day.  We try to think of other options.  Sand won't work because he will lick that in his sleep too. We ended up ruling out hay, straw, sand and sawdust.  Ed drove over an hour to our dairy supplier to buy a padded mat they use in some dairy barns.  It seemed like the perfect solution.  Until I got home, and saw it that is.  It really wasn't much softer than our floor!   No way was my little mini moo sleeping on that thing! It was hard as a rock (as a matter of fact, that thing is still tied up and laying on our back porch!).  So, I keep adding sheets to the supply, and try to think of different options.  I end up at Tractor Supply and find these foam squares that you put together like puzzle pieces.  For those of you who don't know, Tractor Supply is the Macys for farmers!  Amos really likes the mat. So much so that he keeps licking it. Then I was worried that it might be toxic! I went to look at the label, but it was in the garbage, and Ed had already taken the garbage out. Sooooo at 10 pm or so, we are out there with a flashlight digging through the garbage for the label. We found it, but the label didn't say if it was non-toxic. I spent the next hour searching the internet, and finally found that it was, in fact, non-toxic! One less thing to obsess about!  We're also going to price heaters for the garage and get some ideas about how to make him a stronger pen for the winter!  I found a little lump by his tail. Its under the skin, so I'm just going to keep an eye on it for a few days. Something new to obsess about! This is why I don't sleep anymore.......  The mat is really soft, but when he pees, the liquid just sits there, and Amos ends up soaking wet.  Even making holes so the liquid falls through doesn't help.  So, we go back to the straw, and I add more sheets to the supply, and stick with that.  I seriously can't think of any other option.  We just stick with this plan, until we come up with something better. Amos, in the mean time, is growing stronger, and more temper-mental!
video

Ed takes Amos outside in his pen and I keep checking on him because as we've just seen, he likes to head butt his pen and I'm convinced he going to get loose and get hit by a car or eaten by a coyote! He's sleeping soundly, so I go down to the basement to throw in a load of laundry. I get halfway across the basement and I hear a really loud moooo. I go running up the stairs across the kitchen pulling off my socks so I can go chase him through the yard! I get to the back door and look - and see Amos sound asleep in his pen! So, I go back down the stairs and get almost to the washer and....mooooooo....! Again, I go rushing up the stairs across the kitchen, and once again, Amos is sound asleep. I go look around because I figure the other cows are loose..... but no cows are in sight! I look at the TV, thinking one of Ed's farm programs is on, but its still "Murder She Wrote"....yes, I watch "Murder She Wrote" and I watch it proudly!!!! So, I go to the basement one more time, and this time I barely make it to the bottom of the steps and.....moooo!!! I AGAIN run back up the steps and see NOTHING!!!! But, as I am looking around, I glance at the TV and on the wall behind Jessica Fletcher's head, I see plaques with black and white cows on them! I hit info and see that the episode is about an ice cream business and the dairy farm that supplies the milk!!!! God truly has a sense of humor.......

Amos continues to grow and thrive!  He does have these episodes that are just like when he aspirated, and they're very scary....However, he seems like he's doing really well, otherwise.  He has a lot of visitors, who love to play with him!





Amos is truly a hit with everyone!  He is just so inspiring.  His innocent desire to live just touches everyone's heart!  I have so many people asking about him, and asking me to write a blog so that others can follow his progress.  He even has a Fans of Amos Facebook page!  Folks keep asking me when he'll be "out of the woods".  I keep thinking that he's past the critical point, but I'm afraid to say the words for fear that something will happen.  Well......I was closer to the truth than I knew.....

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