Today we took Lucy to be butchered. Yesterday, we put her and Gwenny in the front yard so that we could visit her throughout the day and say our goodbyes. The girls all took turns milking her this morning and all the kids got to say goodbye again before we loaded her into the trailer, which went much easier than I thought it would go. Once again, I was amazed at her trust in us, to lead her up a step and into a trailer (which, to the best of my knowledge has only happened once before.) When she first came to us, she was not only unfamiliar with being led, she also refused to let us come anywhere near her head. She changed so much in the short time we had her.
In case you haven’t been following the blog and are wondering why we put her down, Lucy was experiencing problems with her hip – presumably the same problems as those she experienced during the winter when she was largely pregnant and we had to lift her with a tractor every day until she gave birth. We tried to find someone equipped to handle her – someone with a tractor willing to take a risk on her – but were unable to. Knowing we couldn’t breed her again, and not having the resources to keep her as a pet, we chose to honor her by allowing her to serve our family once last time. Yes, I said “honor” and that is how I feel about it.
Unfortunately, we were not able to butcher her at home as originally planned, so we found a very small family-owned butchering shop who, if they didn’t quite understand our position was at least willing to humor us and allow us to bring her in early so that she didn’t have to stay somewhere unfamiliar overnight, or spend a lot of time in a strange place with strange cows. They also allowed me to stay with her until they took her inside and we immediately heard the gunshot as we turned to walk away. I don’t know that it helped her any, to have me there until the end, but it helped me be able to walk away, knowing that she was with someone who loved her until the very end.
I don’t know that there is much more I can really say about this… there are a lot of emotions and feelings and things I can’t really express in words. I can say that I’m thankful for her life and so incredibly glad not only for her service and sacrifice to our family, but also that she gave us the gift of Gwendolyn before she left us. I’m thankful for all the people who made it possible for her to be a part of our lives for as long as we were able to keep her. I’m thankful that her last days were with people who loved her, and that after three previous births, she finally got the chance to keep and raise a calf. I’m prayerful that her line will always continue here on our little farm.
Thank you, Lucy. We miss you.