Little Miss Marley

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Wednesday, December 23, 2015 1:02 PM

UPDATE:  The bio-security screen on Marley came back negative for CAE, CL, and Johnes.  YAY!

Little Miss Marley has left the homestead and is headed for her new home at Flat Broke Farm AnimalRescue in Pengrove, CA.

Wait... What?  Who???

It's been an interesting week to say the least.  It all started when my friend Simone forwarded me this post on Facebook last Thursday.  Someone had left a little goat in a crate at the front door of the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter.  This facility is set up for domesticated pets, not farm animals.  Some very strong language towards the person(s) that left her escaped in my out loud voice.  

The shelter did a great job by putting her way in the back in a separate kennel area away from the dogs.  It had a pop hole for outdoor access which is very important for goats.  They gave her some Timothy hay which they had for their rabbits, some carrots, and clean water.  They also cleaned a whole bunch of muck out of her eyes.  Most importantly, they recognized that this little girl wasn't in their wheelhouse and reached out to the community by posting to their FB page asking for information about finding a vet.

When I saw the post, there was no question in my mind.  I had to go check on this little doe and make sure she was alright.  I called the shelter and spoke with the vet tech.  When I offered to come over and give her a health check, I could hear the relief in his voice.  So I loaded up a bag with just about anything I might need such as Probios, antibiotics, hoof trimmers, you name it.  Kristin loaded a bunch of feed hay into a keg bucket and put that in the back of the car.  And then we were off.

When we arrived, it was very obvious that the staff were relieved to have a knowledgeable person to check her out.  She was very nervous, but a little goat ration and rye hay helped bring her around.  She also ate a bit of Sweetlix minerals out of my hand.  I listened to her heart and lungs and was happy when they sounded normal.  Her rumen was rather quiet, but then she hadn't had much to eat.  I gave her a dose of Probios to help kick start it in case it was out of whack and some Selenium/Vitamin E gel for good measure.  I was worried about her eyes since they said they had removed a ton of goop.  I didn't see any sign of pinkeye and her inner lid color was good.  But I gave her a squirt of Vetericyn Pinkeye Spray in each eye for good measure.  Can't hurt, right?  There were perfect little goat berries all over the floor so I wasn't worried about coccidiosis  She seemed a little thin for her size, but she wasn't emancipated by any means.  So I gave her a dose of wormer too.  Her hooves needed a good trim, but that could wait.

After the exam, I sat with her curled up in my lap and gave her some much needed loving.  She ended up falling asleep.  My guess is that it was the first time all day she felt safe and relaxed.  So I let her snooze while Kristin and I chatted quietly.  It was cold on the concrete floor.  I kept looking at her kennel and thinking to myself that it wasn't the best option.  After brainstorming with Kristin, we both came to the conclusion that we weren't leaving the facility without her.  No, I was not going to adopt her.  But I would foster her until they could find her a home.  And I'd get a bio-security screen blood test done to verify her CAE / CL / Johnes status.

The only way I was able to safely foster her was by keeping her completely separate from my own goat herd.  Since I didn't manage to get a winter garden in this year I didn't have anything growing for her to destroy.  I had also attached some hog paneling to my barnyard fence earlier in the year to prevent the turkeys from getting into the garden.  So I put up a tarp on the barnyard fence and we built a cozy little shelter between the rocking chairs in the fire pit patio area.  A thick layer of straw made this temporary little loafing shed warm and comfortable.  Kristin sat out with her for a while to make sure she was settled in, ate some dinner, and knew where the water bowl was.

On Friday I loaded her into the crate again and the two of us took a little drive up to UC Davis Large Animal Clinic.  It was on this drive that I decided to call her Marley.  I'll explain this a little later.  She got a brief exam (basically the same as I had given her) to confirm that she was doing okay.  They drew blood for the bio-security screen and weighed her.  At 26-1/2 lbs, she was a little on the light side.  They looked at her teeth and estimated she was between 7 and 10 months old.  They also said that she was a Saanen mixed with either a Boar or Nubian.  That means she's probably going to be a big girl when she grows up.  I should have the test results within a week.  So she got the all clear (except for the tests).  I called the shelter to give them an update and then we headed back home.  

On Tuesday I received a call from Lou, the vet tech at the shelter.  They had found a home for Marley.  YAY!!!  A rescue in Pengrove would take her.  Transportation to the farm was arranged for the next morning via one of their volunteers.  I did a quick look at their website to make sure they weren't those idiots in Sonoma (don't ask).   Everything looked legit and I felt relieved.  I had done everything I could to make sure she was healthy, safe and comfortable while in my foster care.  It was time to send her off to her new home and a much better life than she has probably known up to this point.

This morning Kristin and I got up early and gave her a final once over.  Her eyes were wiped clean again with a warm washcloth.  Since they were still gunky, I decided to put a drop of antibiotics in each one.  I washed the dirt from her lower legs and gave her a hoof trim.  She was so calm the entire time, just happily munching on some goat ration.

I have to say that she looked a hell of a lot better this morning than when I picked her up almost a week ago.  We drove over to the shelter for the hand off.  I taped my card to the top of the crate so the folks at the rescue farm can call me.  She was very calm and relaxed as we moved her to the other vehicle.  Not even one little bleat from her.  Nope!  She was contently chewing her cud.  I snapped a few pictures, gave her some scratches, and said goodbye to Marley.

The shelter had previously told me that they would reimburse me for the vet visit and the blood test.  But it's Christmas time and they are a non-profit organization rather than a facility operated by the city or county.  So I told the vet tech to just give me a receipt for the donation and I'd write it off on my taxes.  By his expression, I could tell he was surprised.  Out of the blue I had come to the rescue when Marley was dropped off and they didn't know what to do.  I had offered to foster her in an appropriate setting and see to her medical checkup.  And now I wasn't even going to ask them to reimburse me for the medical expenses.  Happy Holidays indeed!!!

'Tis the season for giving as the saying goes.  I may not have much at the moment, but I did what I could.  My Christmas gift this year went to a homeless stranger in need.  I hope Marley will have a happy and healthy future with loving friends and companions.
Why did I settle on the name Marley?  Because on the way to UC Davis the song "Three little birds" by Bob Marley came on the radio and it just clicked.  It was like she suddenly had a theme song.  You may not know the song title, but I know you will recognize the chorus:
Rise up this mornin
Smiled with the risin' sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin' "This is my message to you" 
"Don't worry about a thing
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright"
Singin' "Don't worry about a thing
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright!"'