Saying good-bye is never an easy thing to do, but after seeing and spending some time with Augusta tonight I see it as a necessary step to be taken to make her better. Would I have loved to have her around many more years? Of course, after all she was only 10 years old. Augusta came in the Fall of 2009 and she had some major health issues, one being uveitis, a chronic eye condition that would eventually lead to blindness, she also had some hoof problems and some at that point not yet so much apparent neurologicial problems. Despite vigorous efforts by the vet and the staff, Augusta's eyesight started to fail very rapidly, and what was only a slight loss of eyesight in one eye, turned soon into complete blindness in that eye very quickly. Once that happened, all her neurologicial problems were getting more visible, she was constantly stumbling, which still was at first thought of being a learning process of her blindness. We had blind donkeys before, and they adjusted amazingly to their new circumstances and got around pretty well. Seems like the other animals kind of always took care of them especially. After many weeks with the vet and many tests and overnight stays at the University of Guelph Animal hospital, the tests finally came back with not giving much hope of her ever getting better and she really went down hill fast. She was in a lot of pain and received the highest safest amount of painkillers, the best of care and a lot of love. They were still waiting for the final test results last week when I had a discussion with Cate about the tremendous and pricey medical attention Augusta was receiving and that really no stone was left unturned to get her the best help for the best possible outcome. The final test results were not good and the decision was made that for Augusta's sake it was time to end her suffering.
I was standing at the fence today watching the donkeys mingle with people and enjoying the sunshine, when Kim came over to speak to me, first I was a little nervous about what she wanted to see me about, but it soon was apparent that she knew how much I cared about Augusta and she wanted to let me know in person about what is going to happen tomorrow, she didn't want me to be informed via email after the fact. She told me that if I wanted I could spend some time with Augusta after work up in Halfway Haven. After four everybody had left but with Cate's permission I could go up to Augusta and spent as much time with her as I wanted. I grabbed a handful of carrots and walked up to Halfway Haven. I haven't really seen Augusta that much in the last few weeks, because she was up in the special care and really only staff is allowed up there. She was there with one other donkey and two of the goats. Of course she smelt right away that I had carrots on me and started nipping at me, because she can't see she feels everything out with her lips and was constantly chewing on me. She ate the carrots and then I just stood there and hugged her for a while, talked to her, scratched her ears and her butt and just loved her. I made so many attempts to leave only to go back for one more donkey hug, and I just couldn't leave. She finally laid down as she was really shaky on her legs, and had trouble standing up. So I sat with her in the sand pit and petted her face and massaged her legs. She was laying there so peaceful and relaxed and I thought it would be so nice for you to just go now, I could feel her hot breath from her nostrils hitting my legs as I talked to her. I could have stayed the whole night to sit with her. Every time I said her name, her ear would just perk up, even though her head was flat on the ground. We sat there for good an hour, it was so nice just to be with her and yet so sad because I knew it was the last time I was going to see her. After a few more hugs and kisses it was time for my final good-bye to her. I told her that I loved her and that she will be in a better place, even though were she was, is a great place, and that she will be ok. I will miss that sweet donkey face so very much. She was such a loving donkey, so full of curiosity and always there for a hug. She was the first donkey to give me a donkey hug and I just loved her affection.