Wednesday, 19 November 2008

how do you bury a cow?

our lovely if slightly mad Jersey GinGin breathed her nembutal-assisted last yesterday afternoon, after a ten-day long battle to survive being bitten by a brown snake.
we'd been hopeful, given seven out of ten large animals have been known to overcome the venom. our vet administered intravenous vitamin C (considered best practice for cattle) and we lugged honey-water and food to her a couple of times a day.

but yesterday morning she gave me a sad weary look that indicated she'd had enough. drinking was becoming a struggle and she couldn't even get a wad of cud up to chew.
so rather than leave her to gradually fade away covered in a million insidious flies, we called for help.

if i'm ever struck with the big C (not the vitamin) or other debilitating condition and if it comes the time when there's no hope for recovery and everything is ghastly...i hope somebody calls the vet to me too. intravenous nembutal seems a fairly gentle way to depart on the next big adventure.

later that evening all the other cows gathered around, singing a low and mournful song. this morning i buried her. so i can tell you now how a cow is buried. one spade-full of dry earth at a time. it took me an hour and a bit. mounding up, as opposed to digging down, given the bone-dry state of the land.

worst of it is, the next big wind we get will probably undo my work...dry dusty soil doesn't have a lot of staying power.   


  1. Oh india, how sad. Jersey cows are such beautiful placid creatures, I know I was attached to mine years ago. But its best not to let her suffer, poor thing.

    I had a horse die on me once, had to get the neighbour over with his tractor to do the dead. Would be hard going with a spade.


  2. What a very loved cow. I am sorry to learn of her passing.

  3. I'm so sorry she did not recover. :(

  4. gin gin makes me feel like flying out over the hills...seeing all the golden grass, out over the plains - to the river and sea...then to the dust

    bones given to the folds of the earth
    and the rest lifts as sparks of light
    upward lifting in the dry wind
    to join with stars

    xx solemn lovely sad story

  5. Oh India, i'm so sorry for you.
    Can't you put stones on top to cover her?

  6. India, I am so sad for the loss of your Jersey GinGin. So sorry she couldn't pull through.

  7. India, how brave you can see further than dead, but I wish you strength because you will be sad..
    hugs yvette

  8. India I hope that my poor English express my feelings....

  9. Seeing animals die is really heartbreaking. So sorry.

  10. GinGin died happy and pain free
    if the wind blows, the wind blows
    what can we do to stop it?

  11. thanks everyone for your kind thoughts....i may yet be lugging stones Martine, but covering a cow-mound will take a truckload. that'll be a last resort solution, cos the gathering will take some time...and it's hot here...
    meanwhile GinGin is off on the next big adventure, whatever that is...

  12. This story, your story, the story of you and GinGin, it is a beautiful one, and even though it is just one little page of your story, it reveals so much. Your words have touched me deeply. I thank you for the wisdom, and the courage, and the heart you have woven into fabric of this post.

    Your blog is wonderful by the way. I will add you to my links, and, I will be back. Blessings to you and to GinGin.

  13. Thankyou for the comment you left on my blog. it sounds as though your cow had a good life and for that you must be pleased.

  14. I am glad you were able to recogize when the cow had had enough and was ready to go. At that point it is the last caring thing we can do for our animals. My golden retriver,having shown me that he really had had enough, died with his head in my lap being stroked. He didn't even notice the needle going into his paw . I just wish, as you said, that we could find a way to help oursleves in this way.

  15. I am so sorry ... I remember from when my daughter lived in Australia, all the times she came across poisonous creatures.. She is such an outdoors girl.. I worried for her... but don't all mothers...