Goodbye Elderberry

December 29, 2017

“God put a rainbow in every cloud. The rainbow is coming. Say, “thank you,” even though you can’t see the rainbow. It’s already there.” -Maya Angelou

“God put a rainbow in every cloud. The rainbow is coming. Say, “thank you,” even though you can’t see the rainbow. It’s already there.” -Maya Angelou

I just came inside from the Love Shack after tucking Buckwheat in. It was hard for me to leave him because this is the first time he will ever be alone, and I know he is not going to fare well without his brother. Elderberry left us tonight. 

My heart is so sad, Elderberry was not just a goat to us, he was, like any pet, a part of our family. From the first day I got him, he was so affectionate and dependent upon me. He loved sitting in my lap, and when he was little, he fell asleep in my lap every. single. night. I have a deep love for animals, and to feel the love back the way Elderberry did was so incredibly joyful. It’s hard to believe I will be able to love another animal the way I love Elderberry. 

I have received so many messages, texts, and calls, and they have meant so much to me during this time. Thank you so much for thinking of us; it’s been rough, but I am so happy he isn’t suffering anymore, as cliché as that sounds. 

It all started off with him being a bit “off” – just not his normal self. Within a few days I realized that whatever was going on was more serious that I initially thought. We administered some antibiotics and fluids and hoped for the best. Things didn’t improve. With more observation, I noticed he was quite anemic, so we de-wormed even though his fecal showed no signs of worms. 

It was a long holiday weekend, and I felt horrible calling the vet on Christmas eve, but I was getting pretty desperate. We gave him a dose of antitoxin and a steroid shot. My father-in-law is a doctor and said that the steroid shot is something they also give to humans to “keep them alive”. This was grave news. 

“God put a rainbow in every cloud. The rainbow is coming. Say, “thank you,” even though you can’t see the rainbow. It’s already there.” -Maya Angelou

When the vets office opened after the holiday, I took Elderberry in for some blood tests because of his anemia. We discovered that his PCV was around 8, normal is 40. My poor, poor baby. My vet suggested a blood transfusion to try and save him, I was willing to give it a shot. I posted on Facebook asking if anyone in Alturas would be willing to let me use blood from their goat, and within minutes, I had more goats than I knew what to do with. It was proof that this community is astonishing. It’s hands down my favorite part about living out here. 

I called up one of my friends and asked her if she could take an early lunch break to help me go get a goat. So we headed out to get our donor goat, which proved to be full of laughs. We loaded her into the back of my car, and within an hour the transfusion was complete. 

I was able to take Elderberry home that evening, he seemed to be feeling a bit better and drank quite a bit of electrolyte water on his own. I was happy about this because he hadn’t been interested in food or water all week and I had been syringe feeding him. The vets left his IV catheter in his neck for me, so I was able to give him Vitamin B complex and fluids easily. 

The vet suspected that Elderberry was suffering a hemolytic crisis due to copper poisoning. I remembered that when Buckwheat was sick, we had ordered medicine for him that we never ended up using. The medicine is a hard to find drug – ammonium tetrathiomolybdate –  that took a long time to get, and by the time it arrived, we no longer needed it because he had recovered. 

I sent a photo of the drug to my vet asking if it was the same drug he had planned on using on Elderberry, and he said yes! The following day we weighed and mixed dosages for Elders, but by this time his health was failing fast. I noticed his nose was twitching more and more, a sign that he had been off food for too long – neurological problems. He also wasn’t able to stand very well on his own any longer, he stumbled and moaned. It was so sad, and in my mind I had made the decision to euthanize him if he wasn’t any better in the morning. 

Still, I wanted him to be comfortable throughout the night so I started a glucose IV to help give him energy. My sister and my goat-napping friend came over for dinner, and during the time we were eating dinner, Elderberry passed away. When I walked into the Love Shack he was laying on the ground, and I honestly didn’t believe it at first. I held him and cried. I wished that I had been there for him. I wished I could tell him I loved him one more time. I wished I could kiss his sweet face just one more time. 

As you’ve probably gathered, Elderberry wasn’t just a goat to me. I treated him like a part of our family. I raised him from a baby, and spent hours every evening with him. Once, my therapist asked me what I did for my “me time”, and I told her, “I spend time with my goats.” She said that was the first time she had ever heard that before. I will miss Elderberry terribly, he was so special.

Tomorrow we will bury him under the apple trees, one of his favorite spots to graze. I will plant an elderberry bush to remember him by, and I will make elderberry pie every year and think of him. Every time I pass an elderberry bush on a long ride I will say a little prayer for him.

Maybe you think it’s strange for me to be writing about this so soon after he has passed, but just being able to share his story and share photos of him makes me feel a little less sad. The first thing I did when I found him was call one of my best friends; being able to talk about it and share it with someone close to me made me feel better, even though there was no true purpose in me calling to tell her. If I’ve learned nothing else throughout this, just being there to listen is one of the best gifts you can give to someone hurting. 

Of course, I am so sad, and my heart is hurting, but I am able to see the silver lining in it all. Practicing gratitude in all things. Even during times of pain…

I am so lucky to have been able to love something so fully and so deeply, and care for it, and then say goodbye, a lesson in God’s love. I was also shown the strength of our community, which makes me so very happy. I am so thankful to live in such a wonderful town. I am also thankful for the veterinary staff for being so wonderful, I feel lucky to have such caring and smart people to help me during times like these. 

As I close out the many tabs I have open on my computer all about “copper toxicity” and “ammonium tetrathiomolybdate“, I count my blessings and take note of all that I have. A warm place to sleep. Food in the refrigerator. A car in the driveway. Warm coats in my closet. I am thankful for my own health, and for the health of my family. There is so much to be thankful for, even in times of struggle. 

Thank you for reading and being a support system, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to simply listen. I look into the new year full of hope and gratitude. 

With love, Chloe


“Everything that is happening to you, is being drawn into your life as a means to help you evolve into what you were really meant to be here on earth. it’s not the thing that matters, it’s what that thing opens within you.” -Oprah


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  1. Oh no, I just read this and I’m so very sorry. I teared up reading this. I hope getting this comment so late afterward doesn’t bring you additional pain, but I didn’t want to not say something. Hugs and love to you.

  2. You have a beautiful soul and heart to care for all animals. Elderberry was lucky to have you, as you were him. Beautiful post and may God Bless you and your family, all four-legged and two-legged ones.

  3. Such a beautiful story. I also know this pain all to well. These special creatures come into our lives and neve let us down never say an unkind word. They expect nothing yet give so much. Elderberry was an amazing goat with the sweetest disposition. I so appreciate your outlook and positivity. Best of luck with your new babies. They are so lucky to have a home with you.

    Kind Regards
    @angel_gurl514

  4. I know this pain all too well, there are no words, no magic, not even time will help ease your pain, but luckily for you, and all of those who love freely, your magnificent heart and mind will team up and somehow you will survive. Trust me, you will get through this, but you already know this. Love to you and your furry clan.

  5. My heart absolutely breaks for you. I read this post with tears rolling down my cheeks. I know how you feel. I love my pets like they are people (and I love them MORE than some people) and I have lost as well. It’s horrible. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  6. From GV, we are sending Our heartfelt condolences. What a sweetie your dear little friend was. May your fond memories carry you through this transition.

  7. I have been thinking about sweet Elderberry today…I’m so sad for your loss. My heart aches knowing the feeling of loss you are going through. I love all the little creatures that enrich our lives. Extra hugs and loves with Buckwheat will be healing for both of you. Buckwheat will be missing his buddy too.

  8. I’m reading this with tears. I will so miss seeing Elderberry’s sweet face in your photos and stories, but clearly nowhere near as much as you will. I’ve learned a new love and appreciation for goats through your posts for which I’m grateful. Though we are strangers, I hope it helps even the tiniest bit to know my animal loving heart hurts with yours. Thank you for posting your beautiful goodbye to a very special little soul. ❤️

  9. I am so sad for you and for little Elderberry! I am so happy to have read about where u are going to bury him and the Rlderberry Bush u are going to plant in his honor! How very sweet of you!
    I have to admit I had tears streaming down as I read your blog about Sweet Elderberry! Hugs!
    Susanne

  10. Oh Chloe, I’m so so sad to hear your sweet boy is gone. I truly thought he’d be ok with everything you were doing. He was truly blessed to have a mumma like you. Sending you much love.
    Ness xx

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss. Just looking at that sweet face, full of such expression, I can tell he was very special. I’m sure he knows how much he is loved and missed. Praying for peace and comfort for you and the rest of the family.

  12. Oohhh man, my heart literally breaks for you Chloe. With tears streaming down my face, I hurt with you because I know how painful it is to lose a beloved family member. Gone far too soon, but you’ve been able to capture so many beautiful memories that you’ll cherish forever. My best wishes are with you.

  13. Chloe, my heart is breaking for you. As I sit here and read this with tears in my eyes, I am amazed at your strength… Which I’m sure you don’t feel. When I lost my brother people commented on my strength and I almost had to laugh, as I felt the furthest thing from strong. But being on the outside, I now understand. Having strength in hard times doesn’t mean you are not hurting or that you are unaffected. It’s quite opposite. Showing strength in hard times is feeling tremendous pain, and simultaneously choosing to acknowledge the positive and having gratitude for all of the good. And through your words, you’ve definitely shown your strength. Keeping you in my prayers as you navigate your new normal.

  14. I’m praying for you, Chloe! Thank you for sharing about your experience so candidly-as someone who has always had animals that are absolutely part of the family, my heart breaks for you. Your willingness to have faith in God’s plan and look for the silver lining in any scenario is such a powerful testament.

  15. My heart hurts for you. The loss of a fur baby is so difficult. Sending you prayers of comfort to lift you at this sad time

  16. I am so sorry to hear about sweet Elderberry. My three goats are my dearest babies. You and Buckwheat are in all of our thoughts. Lots of goats loves headed your way!!

  17. I’m heartbroken for you! Your love for Elderberry shows and I know you must be hurting! Saying many prayers for you!

  18. Chloe–
    My heart is broken for you. Here in my house, we all loved watching the vids you posted about Elderberry & Buckwheat. We are so sorry for your loss and are sending you all of our love. R.I.P. sweet Elderberry and thank you for the joy you brought us. You will live on with us and continue to make our hearts smile.

  19. I cried and am still crying over Elderberry dying. I got my 8 year old a guinea pig a couple months ago, and I can tell you that I love him to death. He’s part of our family and will always be. Hugs and prayers of comfort your way!

  20. My sincere condolences. The photos and stories you have posted about Elderberry and Buckwheat always brought a smile to my face and joy in my heart. It’s a beautiful thing to watch someone share how they love their animals and I appreciate the time you take each day to spread this joy and teach us along the way.
    Rest in peace sweet Elderberry.

  21. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet baby Elderberry. It’s easy to see how very much you love him. Asking God for comfort for you.

  22. I’m so sorry for your loss. You could see from your photos what a character he was and how much you loved him. Sending hugs from across the Atlantic x

  23. Oh wow….I write this with tears in my eyes. I understand your pain having been there with pets of my own. Please know you are not alone!
    I wish you peace and comfort and will keep you and Buckwheat in my prayers,

  24. I am so so sorry Chloe for your loss. My family is struggling with the possibly that we may loose one of our family pets as I write this. Your strength is helping me to look to God for guidance through this. Thank you for sharing. I pray that God comforts you and that Buckwheat is ok. Much love and aloha from one farm girl to another, Paige

  25. I am so sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing him with us. My heart hurts for you. Losing a pet is devastating. I put a lot of pets to sleep; just this April I put my best girl Cloudy down. She was the most awesomest cat and I still miss her.

    God bless you – Janet

  26. So incredibly sorry to hear about your sweet Elderberry! I was so hopeful as I intently followed your updates throughout the week. My face was immediately wet when I woke up to find your post. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache and sadness you must feel losing him. There is something SO special about the love a pet gives back to their mama. The bond you shared with Elderberry is undeniable and the beautiful memories you shared together will never fade!! Sending love and prayers for brighter days ahead to you and sweet Buckwheat! XX

  27. You are a very loving person! Elderberry, I’m sure, is still near you and will soon make you aware of his presence. Then you will know that he is ok and wants to thank you for your love and caring for him. This has been my experience! Thanks for sharing your story, though heart wrenching!

  28. Chloe, I am so sorry to hear the news of Elderberry. The tears are flowing from my eyes as I read your post. We have nubian goats on our farm as well and I share your same love for animals. You have such a sweet and compassionate heart and showered them with love and what joy that they returned that same love back to you. Your words are so beautiful and honest about your pain and finding gratitude amongst it all. What a true gift that is….thank you for sharing your heart. Sending hugs and prayers to you for healing. xoxo

  29. I am so sorry for your loss. The loss of an animal can be so devastating but your Elderberry knew how much he was loved. I love the idea of planting an elderberry bush and then making pies from the berries it produces to remember all the joy he brought you. Sending you lots of prayers during this difficult time.

  30. I am so sorry for your pain. I don’t know you but I feel it too. He looks happy in the pictures…I think the loss of an animal is so devastating, sometimes so hard to feel but that means he was deeply loved. Sending you prayers and hugs. -Dulcey

  31. I join the chorus of people touched by your words, your pain, your sadness. Such a loss is never forgotten, it gets softer at the edges, but never forgotten. May the edges soften quickly for you with the knowledge Elderberry shared your love and it is a gift. Peace.
    -Jean (DolphsMom)

  32. I’m so incredibly sorry for the passing of your beautiful Elderberry. Sending you prayers, love, and peace. So hard to say goodbye.

  33. It’s somewhat odd to be shedding a tear, for a goat across the world that you’ve never met. Thankyou for sharing Elderberry’s life with us, his happy little goofy face made my day every time I saw it. Thinking of your family (& Buckwheat) during this sad and testing time.

  34. When I read your words, my heart broke for you and with you, Chloe. Its not strange you wrote about Elderberry, you have honored him and his life through words and photos so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this journey and your grateful heart with all of us. My prayers are with you as you grieve.

  35. So sorry to hear about Elderberry. We lost our 6 month old goat baby in October after stones in its urinary tract, a successful surgery for it, and then when he was on the mend he passed very quickly due to tetanus …despite being vaccinated. Seems like we can try to move mountains for them and sometimes it still doesn’t work out. Just keep remebering all the sweet moments with him… I think God uses these hard times even with our animals, for shaping our hearts. ❤

  36. My heart aches with the news of Elderberry’s passing. I’ve been praying for him, and for you, too, Chloe. So often our prayers are answered. Other times they go unanswered though God’s Love has shown brightly during Elderberry’s illness in the love and compassion you’ve shown for him; and, your friends, family and community have shown you. I pray you continue to feel the love we’re sending your way…that it brings you peace and heals your broken heart.

  37. I am so sorry for your loss. Animals are a gift from God and this sweet face was lucky to have you as a mommy! Sending prayers to you!

  38. This made me cry this morning. I’ve been hoping Elderberry would recover. I am so sorry. You are a good goat-momma.

  39. Oh friend, I shed tears for you and your babes! Your kind soul was everything he ever needed. Thinking of you and praying for many blessings in the new year ❤️

  40. Dear Chloe,
    I am so heartbroken for you and your loss. Animals touch our hearts in ways that are so hard to explain. They are our forever children yet teach us so much about love.
    Your words about Elderberry were so beautiful and comforting to those of us following along with you. May he Rest In Peace. ❤️❤️❤️
    Barbara L. Xoxo

  41. I am so sorry Chloe. Elderberry is so lucky to have a loving mama like you to care for him and Buckwheat. Thank you for sharing their story and pictures with us.

  42. I was really praying and hoping that Elderberry would have pulled through and gotten better. So sad to see this news this morning. My heart breaks for you.

    • It was so saddening to see him not make it, I truly thought he was going to make it, he fought for so long. Thank you Laura, we are grateful!

  43. Chloe, I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet Elderberry. It was always such a joy to see his sweet face on your Instagram and stories. My heart is broken for you and your family. Although this time is filled with sadness, I can’t help but to admire your ability to practice grattitude during this difficult time. I will be praying for you and your sweet Elderberry! I’m so sorry!

    Morgan

    • Hi Morgan, thank you so much for thinking of all of us over here. We are still hurting, but beginning to get into a new routine. Buckwheat is enjoying life "on top", and starting to get used to his new friend Butternut. We really appreciate all of the support, thank you!
      Chloe

  44. Oh Chloe! My heart is broken with yours. I’ve been rooting for Elderberry. That copper toxicity is no joke. He was a beautiful creature. We lovE our animals deeply and they have no idea the love and healing they bring to us. I hope you can find a new friend for Buckwheat, soon. He will be so lonely without a roommate. My prayers are for peace in knowing you did what you could and that your heart will heal with time.

    • Hi Ann, thank you – I was o hoping he would pull through. Ugh the copper, still can’t believe chicken feed did this. They truly bring so much love to our lives don’t they? We are excited about new Butternut and soon to be Alfalfa. I hope I will become as close to them as I am buckwheat and elders. Sending love back to you!

  45. I am so sorry for your loss. Elderberry was one lucky goat to have you as his momma. We will keep you and your family in our payers.
    Melissa

  46. Chloe, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of Elderberry, and for bringing him into our hearts. We all fell in love with him, and the love you have for him. We hope you can feel our hope, our love and our prayers for you during this time, and always.

    • Hi Katie, thank you so much, I have absolutely felt it, it’s been amazing. The outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming in the best way. We truly appreciate it! Love, Chloe

  47. Chloe, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing such beautiful words. You are an amazing goat momma.
    Praying for peace over your heart.❤️
    Xo,
    Melissa

    • Melissa, Thank you so much. It helped to be able to share his story with others. Thank you so very much for keeping us in your thoughts. Love, Chloe

  48. Beautiful tribute to your sweet Elderberry. So very sorry for your loss Chloe but what a blessing Elderberry was in your life and what a blessing you were to him!!! Sending love and prayers from Virginia.

    • Thank you Debbie – Elderberry was truly a blessing, I feel lucky to have been able to be him goat mama!