When Your Cow Dies (and life stinks)

I haven’t talked about Faith on the blog since she died last spring.

It has taken this long for me to be able to write about her without crying.

I am much better now and wanted to share something I learned.

Have you ever had to trust God while you walked through something icky?  …When your prayers didn’t receive the answer you were hoping for?

Maybe it was a death, an illness, a tragic event or accident.

Maybe you’re walking through it right now.

A preacher once said to me:

“You are either on a mountain top…

or going into a valley

or coming out of a valley.”

Fantastic.  If I’m not in a valley, I’m on my way into one.  Very encouraging.

Here’s another uplifting piece of advice, this came from my vet:

“There’s 2 kinds of farmers:  Those who have problems and those who are gonna have problems.”

Now that we are all miserable…. or about to be…

Let’s count our blessings.

If you aren’t going through something now- be grateful, give thanks and be ready – because it’s probably coming.

God never promises us a perfect life, an easy life, or a happy life – He promises to be with us, comfort us and give us exactly what we need.

Romans 8:28  

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

 

2 Corinthians 10:13

 “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Many of you are going through some terrible times.  Some of you are experiencing hurt and pain right now.

Words don’t always help. Especially when life stinks and everyone wants to make you feel better.  Sometimes I just need to cry and not have everyone try to cheer me up.  Ya’ know?

Back to our cow, Faith.

In case you are hearing the name, “Faith”, for the first time I’ll give a brief recap.

We lost our beloved milk-cow, Faith, this past spring.  She was my oldest daughter’s cow.  She was our first milk-cow.

She was gentle.  She was kind.  She was loving. She thought she was our mother.  She watched my children like a mother hen.  She was always at the fence line looking for us.  If we were in her field she was trying to get in our laps. She was the best cow we have ever owned.

Faith was sick.  She came from a milking line where production was the goal and the more a cow could produce the more she was prized.  When milk-production is the goal many health problems can arise. High milk production can be very dangerous to the health of the cow.

This was Faith.

Her udder was the size of a small planet.  She made near 6 gallons a day during peak production.  This is not average nor healthy for a Jersey cow.  We did not know this.

faiths udder 2

Faith was also the gem of the farm (we bought her from).  She was the dairy-owner’s son’s cow.  She loved people and was the perfect family cow for us.  She just had one problem:  her udder.

We bought Faith because of her friendliness, her temperament and because we fell in love with her.

We soon learned that along with that giant udder came a host of problems.

With milk production at her level:

  • There is a higher need for nutrition
  • There is an alarming rate of Milk Fever
  • There is an increased need for minerals and supplements
  • There is difficulty breeding
  • Don’t even bother trying to switch this cow from machine to hand milking.  It won’t work.  Even if you are Hulk and can milk for 45 minutes straight her udder will most likely not be able to make the switch.  An udder that is typically milked out in 5 minutes (by machine) and switches to 30 minute milking (by hand) will probably not be happy.

She was high-risk in just about every department. We did not know any of this when we bought her.

Side note:  If you meet a cow with an udder the size of a planet making 6 gallons of milk a day and want to milk by hand-  you probably shouldn’t buy her.

So, we had our sweet, gracious, adorable cow and were thrilled.

The next few years were filled with:

  • Mastitis
  • Ketosis
  • More Mastitis
  • Difficulty breeding
  • Grass Tetany
  • More Mastitis
  • Milk Fever
  • and more mastitis

We found out from our vet that Faith had a staph infection in her udder that was basically untreatable.  No matter what medication we used it was just a matter of time before the mastitis would return.  Our vet tried infusions in her teats.  He tried injected antibiotics.  He used medicated, teat infusions for her dry period before she calved hoping to get the mastitis cleared up before she calved again.  Nothing worked – for years the mastitis always came back.

She had an abscess in her udder you could feel.  It was a big lump in her back right quarter.  This is where the staph infection lived.  We could keep the mastitis at bay for a while but it always returned.  It was incurable.

Ultimately, her high-milk production killed her.

She miscarried her calf last spring, came down with a gnarly case of milk fever, her kidneys failed and we lost her.  She received the best medical treatment money could buy.  Every known remedy on the planet was tried in order to save my little girl’s cow.

Our vet couldn’t win.   The battle was lost before it began.  If you need a good cry you can read all about it:

When we lost Faith, EVERYONE was sweet.  They were kind.  They wanted to make us feel better.

rosie 9

Since we had just bought a second cow, Rosie, everyone on the planet decided to tell us:

“That’s why God gave you Rosie!’

“God knew Faith was going to die, so He provided another cow for your family.”

“He was so good to give you a new cow.”

I wanted to punch them all in the throat.

No.  I don’t want Rosie.  I wanted Faith.

No, it doesn’t make it better.

No, it doesn’t make me happy.

No, it doesn’t make it any easier.

No.  No.  No.

Please, let me hit them.  Please.

Now that it’s been 6 months I can see.

God was good.

God loves me so much.

My well-meaning friends were actually right, even though I wanted to hit them all in the face.

Rosie didn’t make it better.  Rosie didn’t make it hurt any less.  Rosie will never replace Faith.

rosie

What we have learned from Rosie:

  • What it is like to own a HEALTHY cow
  • How easy it is to milk a cow who doesn’t have a staph infection
  • How spunky, bubbly and adorable a cow can be who is not sick all the time
  • How simple life can be with a family milk cow (who is well)

We had only known Faith.  We had only known problems, sickness and chronic infection.  We didn’t know how difficult our lives actually were.   Faith had to leave and Rosie had to come so we could see.

God was helping us.

He was blessing us.

We could not see it at the time because we did not know.   It was so painful at the time.  It was not fun or easy to walk through.

On the other side we can see clearly.  God was loving us.

Not only did He set us free from the captivity of a chronically sick cow, He also sent some love this way through you.  Yup, God used some of the readers of this blog to be His hands and feet.  A few readers reached out to me with just the right words.  Thanks ladies!

Side Note:  If you’ve ever considered sending a note to a blogger – go ahead – you’ll probably make their day.

No matter what it looks like to our eyes at the time, if you are His, you can have peace and be still because He does have the best for you.

If you haven’t yet turned your life over to God, let me encourage you.  When you give it to Him it takes all the pressure off.  Life won’t be perfect, it will still stink sometimes, but you will rest well knowing that He has your best in mind. Go here to read more about the biggest question in life.  Go here to read more about why bad things happen.

If you are ready for a fresh start and haven’t handed the reigns over yet…

If you don’t know where to start or what to do…

  • Tell God your sorry.
  • Confess you’ve messed up.
  • Ask Him to forgive you.
  • Ask Him to take it from here.
  • and really mean it.

If you do, you’ll wake up with a big grin tomorrow.

Life may still be hard, but you’ll have that joy that comes from inside.  The joy that comes from knowing you are His.

There’s peace in that.

Peace to you this Christmas Season.

love,

Candi

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