Gracie full of Grace
I want to wrap the passing of Gracie in grace. And this grace is the colour orange.
When the morning team left, all was well after breakfast and lunch, all was the same as it had been the day before and the day before…. But it was not to stay well for long. Gracie passed away in the next two hours before the tuck-in team arrived.
I’ve spent countless days worrying about Gracie and her bad leg and if she ever were to fall and couldn’t get up. If cows fall on their side they cannot remain on their sides for any length of time. This can cause bloat which can be fatal. But there is usually lots of time (usually 15 hours) to intervene, to help them get back up on their feet. We would have had time to put out a call for help. I have phone numbers saved for Surrey Firefighters and neighbours with tractors. Instead Gracie fell when no-one was around and passed away very quickly. Because it was so quick, the cause is unknown. A necropsy could not be performed at the farm so I have to come to terms that it will remain a mystery.
“Most of the causes of [cows] not being able to stand fall into what veterinarians refer to as the ‘5 M’s of Down Cows.’
The five m’s are: mastitis, metritis, metabolic, musculoskeletal and mystery.”
She was wrapped in a royal blue horse blanket which covered just a small part of her beautiful body but she needed to be fully covered overnight while we were arranging for her final resting place. We wrapped her in an orange tarp held down with sand bags so that no predators could get to her.
Gracie brought so much joy to everyone who met her. She was the most beautiful soul you will ever meet in a 1500 pound body. She was always included in our healing programs with young children, teens and adults. She was only ever gentle. When you talked to her, she would tilt her head to the side to get a better understanding of who you were, what you were saying, and maybe a shadowed glimpse of you. Her other senses were heightened. She could smell green hay from a mile away, she knew her beloved volunteers’ voices, and she loved to nudge the fuzzy heads of Clover and Peanut.
All our animals are cremated so that they can come with us to our forever home. Carson’s Stock Farm (who picked up Chase our horse) was booked to come and get her the following morning. We called the crematorium and were told that, “we have never cremated a cow.” My immediate thought was, well now you will. But it ended up that Gracie was too big. We were given the option of her being transported to Alberta to a plant.
You can imagine our heads were spinning at this point not really understanding that our beloved Gracie wouldn’t be treated like any other beloved horse or farm animal or pet.
This is a big part of why I struggle when people ask me, “what happened to Gracie?” It wasn’t enough that she died suddenly, from unknown causes, but being a cow meant that she was at risk of not being respectably laid to rest.
Then an angel came to our rescue with equipment to bury Gracie on this property. We asked permission from the landlord. It took two more days.
She is at peace. I am at peace now with her resting on our farm, close to Peanut and Clover. And in a field that is being lovingly tended to grow green and lush this summer. Maybe even with some beautiful wildflowers, orange of course.