28th February 2013
Unchain my Heart…
Kevin’s story is as tragic as it is real for both he and his human carers. Kevin was rescued from slaughter as a young kid goat around seven years ago by well-meaning people whose compassion sadly was not matched by their knowledge of goat husbandry and welfare. It was Kevin’s gentle and personable nature that quickly endeared him to one and all. But Kevin grew, as all goats do, and this was beyond the scope of the backyard in which he lived. The fencing was unsuitable to contain a goat and so it became a life on a chain for Kev. Taking up what appeared to be a good offer, Kevin was loaned to a farm where he was to lead a life as all goats should. But Kevin’s good fortune was soon eclipsed by a lack of care that saw his hooves become hideously overgrown, forcing him to painfully move about on his knees. When Kevin’s human friends returned to see their buddy, it was not a robust, happy and ‘chain free’ goat who greeted them. The sight of the now pitiful Kevin brought tears to their eyes and pain to their hearts as they bundled the hapless goat away.
However, devoid of proper facilities and access to good information on goat care, Kevin returned to a life on a chain and it was there on a fateful day last September that a renegade pony stallion brutally kicked Kevin in the head, shattering his left horn completely and leaving a gaping hole in his skull. Despite two different attending veterinarians, the wound became horribly infected and fly struck and naturally refused to heal. Witnessing the suffering and downward decline of their good buddy was distressing for Kevin’s carers, however their desperate calls for help were not rewarded. That was, until the call was made to Edgar’s Mission.
Hearing the grief stricken voice of Kevin’s guardian down the phone line told us that the gravity of the situation was not restricted to Kevin alone– they did indeed love him. It is very easy for us all to sit in the ivory tower of our living rooms and cast aspersions on those who ‘there but the grace of a bad decision go I.’ These were not bad people, they were just in a bad place and were desperately looking for a kindly and knowledgeable hand to help. Sensing the urgency of the situation and putting aside the not quite as urgent needs at the farm, the emergency dash was made to collect Kevin, praying all the while we would not be too late.
While we were not able to immediately release the chain from Kevin’s, neck we were able to relieve the anxiety of his caregivers with assurances we would do our very best for Kevin. With the unmistakeable odiferous scent of the uncastrated Kevin quickly engulfing one and all, it was to be the obese maggots slithering from his horn cavity that sent our stomachs in a spin. Knowing Kevin had been plagued by this condition for many months, coupled with his tilting head and the continual stamping of his left front leg saw our concern deepen.
For now, Kevin’s hooves have been attended to and he is walking much better, although his castration will (we are sad to say for our collective noses) have to wait until his health greatly improves. With the maggots all sent packing thanks to an immediate veterinary consultation and treatment upon arrival at our sanctuary, it will now be a waiting and medicating game until the exact extent of the damage is revealed. Kevin’s sinus, known as the nasal cavity, is closely linked to the internal bone structure of the horn and has been exposed to the elements by the missing fragments of his horn. It was a most tender moment last night watching Kevin comfortably ensconced in a straw filled stable, munching away on delicious green hay and having his nostrils treated to the delicious scent of wheetbix – a fitting reward for a gruelling day.
Kevin’s story serves a reminder of just how forgotten farm animals and their needs have become. Few people are well versed in their care and special needs and even fewer will go to the great lengths sometimes required to ensure their wellbeing. Even our animal protection legislation has seen them drop from the ethical radar, regarding them as being less worthy of our compassion than their equally emotional and sensitive domestic rivals – our cats and dogs. The last 24 hours has indeed been a humbling experience as we have not only been able to rescue Kevin but we have come to the aid of his human caregivers as well. If ever there was proof for the need of an organisation such as ours, Kevin’s story fits the bill.
Animals like Kevin, vulnerable and meek, who remain so noble and kind in the face of adversity, serve to tell us that it is not steely chains that should hold them but rather gentle loving hearts. Over the coming days, weeks and months, we will be by Kevin’s side, helping to restore him to full health and vigour. It is our firm hope that his tale of redemption and forgiveness will inspire others to realise that each and every being is worthy of compassion and kindness and that only those of us who have never sinned should caste the first stone. Unchain my heart…
Blog update – March 6th – Wake up Kevin