Written by Kathryn Gress, March 1st, 2010
The story of Samson, who was born 3-18-2000 at Carol Holder’s farm and died January 5th, 2010 almost 10years old, just 2 days after Dede the horse. They were very close friends, Dede and Samson. It has been the hardest to write Samson’s memorial and I apologize for this delay, but you will learn why soon.
Samson was full of life when I adopted him along with Cutie at a very young age–approximately 12 weeks old. Cutie was a month younger. However, she watched out for Samson early in their lives together. When Ben and I first brought Samson, the Nubian baby goat home with Cutie, the Cashmere goat, Samson, had been on his mother too long, and wouldn’t get off and finally was pushed away from his mother. Cutie was the runt of the litter and had to be bottle feed initially.
When they arrived at The Gress Mountain Ranch, both goats played and ran and even jumped on top of the barn roof, over 50 feet in the air and walked on top of the roof. I called the vet, Dr. Arlin, to alert him that the baby goats were on top of the roof barn. Dr. Arlin reassured me that this was goat behavior, and that they would come down. They did indeed come down from the roof safely.
Samson loved to sit and lay in the sun with his head in the sky, or in his feeder bathtub, where all the hay was stored. Samson would call out in his loud Nubian voice, saying, “Don’t forget about me…I’m here!” When Rambo died, Samson took over as leader of the pack, and as the PR Therapy Goat at the ranch.
Samson was so friendly and easy going, except with the donkeys, especially JoJo. Once JoJo was pushing at him and Samson with his strength went under JoJo’s belly and threw him down the hill. No one messed with Samson anymore! And if they did, Cutie came to the rescue, especially as Samson got older. In August 2009 Samson was diagnosed by me and then the vet, of having CHF, and heart failure. Still, Samson passed his one year anniversary of having heart disease.
But Samson wanted to live, and he did indeed, eating and taking Dede’s grain, and she would let him do it too! Samson,did a last therapy event, in October 2009 at the Walnutport Canal Festival. Samson, just stood there and let all the people pet him. Everyone marveled by how easy-going and big Samson was at that time. Samson greeted all the people at the ranch, and was a parade goat, was at all the events, Samson, did it all and was everywhere as a grand representative for TGMR!
Now, comes the hard part. It was about November, a couple of months till the end of his life that Samson started to have trouble walking around. Samson, still ate well, still drank, did all his bodily functions, but walking was getting more difficult. His front legs were plagued by severe arthritis, common for big goats. I had started him on Conroprotect and it helped for awhile. The medication was very expensive–$90.00 for a small vial. But Samson was worth it.
On Christmas Eve day, Miss Sylvia, a devoted angel volunteer came over and Miss Mia, a junior volunteer, came to put on Samson’s new fleece coat for the cold winter. Samson, with great difficulty wore the new coat, and made it over to the other pasture with the his herd of animals. Samson was the leader, with Dede, and couldn’t be without his group. That was the last time that Samson walked.
The rest of Samson’s story is a great decline. Dr. Arlin came out to evaluate Samson on December 26th, 2009, DX, possible “deer tic” syndrome, stroke, a tumor at the spine, neurological deficit. We tried all kinds of treatments even steroids as a last resort but nothing worked. Samson was confined to a stall with Pearl and Leroy Piggy on the other side as roommates. Samson called out for his herd: “I’m here, don’t forget about me.” But he could not see them. I let Cutie visit. She smelled something different and walked away from Samson.
Samson ate well, apples, goat grain, hay, water but could not walk. Even the front legs were now going bad. Many times I would pick up Samson by the back just to get him to stand. Samson tried to walk and he wanted to live. On Tuesday, January 5th, Dr. Arlin came back for another evaluation. I knew the story, and what was to happen. I had informed many of the volunteers, and even arranged for Samson’s burial that week.
Samson had the will to live. HE wanted to live…..not die! That makes this story so hard to bear. I didn’t want Samson to have to suffer more. He actually was not suffering except for not walking and not being with his friends. Dr. thought euthanizing was the right thing to do.
I cry with big tears as I write this. I knew it was too, but how do you euthanize someone like Samson, who wants and tried to live. Samson tried with all his might to walk, and ate on his last day. He even fought Dr. Arlin with his upper body strength and knocked the syringe with the overdose of meds in it on the ground.
I cared for Samson, and did not want his to suffer for 1 or 2 more weeks with the bad effects which would have occurred from not moving around. This is why this was so hard to write this memorial for Samson. I didn’t want you to suffer Samson, you were so special.
God Bless Samson……in goat heaven across the Rainbow Bridge…….We love YOU Samson…