Izzy is a baby goat, born with the future of a meat goat at -25 degrees on the night of January 10th. His name, Izzy, or “Is he” was coined from the constant questions, “Is he going to live through the night?” “Is he going to walk?” “Is he going to be able to keep up with his mother to nurse?”
Izzy was born the smaller of two twins, with a muscle paralysis in his back legs caused by a nutrition problem. Unable to tuck his legs under him in his stall, his legs suffered from frostbite on that first cold night.
As is custom on many meat ranches that have injured animals, Izzy’s fate was to be put down; he was given a chance to regain some strength on his own at nature’s will, but if his improvement was not vast, he would be put down by the next morning.
I saw a special spirit in Izzy, and finally with his owner’s permission, I worked to rehabilitate him myself through creating custom braces and stretching his muscles and working them using water resistance. The great news was that Izzy he was able to learn o walk on all 4 legs! He regained full use of his back legs, and was released with his mother. I couldn't have been more proud of this little guy's spirit. Sadly, the days were cold and Izzy's inital 'run in' with frostbite on the night he was born meant he was susceptible to frostbite much more quickly than his sibling. Izzy again, now walking on 4 legs, endured stave 4 frostbite on his back legs, and he again faced being put down.
Eventually, I was able to convince his owner to allow me to adopt Izzy rather than put him down. As soon as I had full control over Izzy's future, I wisked him away to a vet, who assured me that my decision to save him was a wise one, and that he deserved a chance.
Izzy made incredible progress in his short life; he started his life dragging his back legs behind him, progressed to walking 'club footed' and then with bracing and rehab, he was a happy 4-legged goat, running full steam. The diagnosis of stage 4 frostbite was hard to hear, because it meant that he would lose his backlegs from the shin down.
When his back feet died and he was no longer able to feel them, he proceeded to walk on only two legs; impressing me with his determination to continue moving. Through more rehabilitation and training, I trained him to walk on his back legs, despite not being able to feel them. The reason for this is because when he grows up, he will have prosthetics and must learn to trust his back limbs.
Izzy's back legs naturally seperated along the line of frostbite between the dead tissue and the live tissue. Within two days of each other, the started to 'fall off' and Dr. Meyring surgically assisted their removal to keep Izzy comfortable. It's unbelievable, but Izzy immediately accepted the temporary prosthetics we vet-wrapped to his legs, just 2 days after his second surgery. The little guy has full intention of spending his life on 4 legs.
Izzy's legs are not his only hardship. Each week we seem to find a new hurdle to jump, but his spirit is incredible and he makes it through just as you would expect of a goat; with determination and stubborness.
Izzy will need aditional prosthetics; right now he is 9 lbs, and he may someday grow to be over 200. This fund is to help keep Izzy walking, and will pay for his medical bills as well as future prosthetics. Any additional funds will be used to help other Ranch and Farm animals that may not have otherwise have a chance to live.
I must say thank you, to all of Izzy’s supporters. For one last time, I will lean on your for support- not for Izzy’s, but for my own. On Wednesday night, Izzy passed away. I wish I could tell you it was quick and easy, but it wasn’t, and telling you so wouldn’t be a tribute to little Izzy’s spirit to fight and to survive. That is what he was, a quiet fighter, having survived neglect, lice, infection, the loss of his back legs, and a multitude of medical issues. Finally, his little body could withstand no more, and after fighting through hours of seizures from which Dr. Meyring and I hoped he would recover, he stopped responding to the treatments and began his departure naturally. We helped him to expedite his leave early Thursday morning; he was tired and I didn’t want him to have to fight any longer. I am so, SO grateful that Dr. Meyring was on call that night; it was luck that he was the vet who saw us the first night I ‘borrowed’ Izzy from his former owner to try to give him a chance, and fate that he was again on call to say goodbye. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else there with us.
I must say, neither Piper nor I are holding up very well. I share this with you because Death is painful for those who stay behind, and our culture, unsure of how to support those dealing with death, try not to discuss the hardships- especially when the death is a pet. It is no less painful. I dedicated myself to Izzy as though he were a human child; every 4 hours bottle feeding him day and night for 4 months, cuddling him to ease his pain, scheduling my life around his medical appointments and needs. Anyone reading this most likely supported Izzy and understands the bonds that we form with our pets. To me, his departure feels more like the loss of a child than a beloved pet, and I know Piper feels the same. As I dug Izzy’s final resting spot in my favorite location in the entire world, with the best view in the world so he may watch over me, Piper stayed guard by his blanketed body. When I placed him in the grave and began to fill it with tears and dirt, Piper whined in distress, carefully crawled down into the hole, making sure to not step on the dirt that had already covered him, and gently began to remove the dirt I had placed carefully over him. She found his blanket, and softly picked it up in her teeth, whined to me, and began finding her way back out of the hole, pulling Izzy up with her. An intimate detail like this should maybe not be shared with the world, but I want you to know, that animals feel love just as we do, and to little Izzy, I gave him the greatest gift I can afford; love and compassion. Piper’s heartbreak is shared with mine, and her gentleness at trying to bring him back gives me hope that Izzy understood my love, and loved me back the same.
I lost so much during my time trying to save Izzy; a relationship, many friendships, a business partnership with whom there was potential for starting an animal sanctuary, plus my favorite past-times. What I gained from Izzy is irreplaceable, and I would do it all again and lose all of it again, hundreds of times over if it would bring him back. Never once did he complain; he simply took each day as a goal. One foot in front of the other bandaged prosthetic. I learned what people I want to surround myself with- compassionate ones stepped forward, and the ones who couldn’t relate or understand blended into the shadows that were a backdrop to my constant drive of saving Izzy. I met many people with hearts as big as Izzy’s, and I am so grateful to him for that. He taught me what true compassion is. What it means to do something fulfilling in my life. I’m 30 years old, and I truly believe I have never done something so important as loving Izzy. He means more to me than the average pet, and he will never be forgotten.
I have dreamed of always having a ranch animal sanctuary (with his passing, I have decided that if it ever comes to fruition, it will be called the “Compassionate Rancher Rescue”) but I know that due to financials, I may never own land of my own to provide for so many in need. Dreams can float onwards out of reach, but Izzy’s lesson is that regardless of the future dream, here and now, we can make a difference each and every day with our compassion. I made a difference to Izzy, and Izzy made a difference to me and to countless others. He gave my life purpose. Each day, we work our lives at what are meaningless jobs for the majority of us; but Izzy gave me the opportunity to do good. I was given the gift of trying to reverse the wrongs that had been done to him before I adopted him, of trying to show him that the world doesn’t have to be a cold, hard place of survival in a dirty stall with a mother that doesn’t want you and an owner not willing to take a chance. Izzy’s message to the world is to learn compassion, and to use compassion. Our skills and vocations are worthless if we cannot view life as special, and give compassion to all life EVERY SINGLE DAY, even the type of animals that we rely on for food and survival. Every life deserves a chance and compassion while it is on this earth. I’m so thankful for Izzy. I’m so heartbroken. I’m so grateful for all of your support.
Some of the funds for Izzy’s prosthetics will be used to help me with medical costs, and the rest will go to Dr. Lee Meyring and Steamboat Veterinary Hospital to help offset the costs for other ranch animals that may need assistance. It’s not a lot of money, but hopefully, it will help to give some other babies like Izzy a chance they otherwise wouldn’t be given.
Rest in peace, my beloved baby. I’m so happy to have seen your happiness before you passed. Your tail wiggles. Your excitement to be picked up. Your voice calling to the world and greeting me each time I came home. I’m so glad you found your voice. The world has heard your message. I’m sure that each person whose life you touched will love a little more today, and remember to care about each life that they come across. You never know what will happen if you’re given a chance.
Rory & Piper
Please take a moment to watch the video I put together to remember him.
During the calm that followed after Izzy became a world famous little goat, things were going pretty steadily. Meaning, he steadily lost his hair, and he steadily continued to refuse to eat, and steadily managed to expand his stomach to astounding dimensions due to bloat. This combination basically resulted in a Rescue Rory Rampage. (Catchy, huh?) Meaning, I have made it my mission to ensure Izzy is getting proper minerals, food, exercise, etc, and to try to get his stomach bloat problem to go away. Armed with probiotics (to help him digest), medication (to cure the bloat), goat minerals (for proper health), tasty molasses vitamins (they absorb through the blood in case he wasn't digesting properly), and a rigorous "no one else in the world matters because my goat needs to survive" schedule, we made some headway. Izzy gained weight and weighed in at 13.5 lbs! He grew some adorable horns, and I was a proud goat mom!
Then, Izzy decided to be picky. He decided not to eat the peanut butter that I hid probiotics in, because he got some on his face, and we all know that peanut butter whiskers are just no fun! Then he loved the honey I switched to mixing the probios in, until he got some sticky residue on his face, which he wiped on my couch. He will no longer eat honey. Then I tried to make him some taffy ( thinking it would be solid enough to avoid the 'stick to the face' problem we were overcoming. That worked for about a week and a half, until he stuck his face in the pan, and got some brown sugar on his face. Taffy is out too. This little OCD goat has an insane memory for sticky substances and won't allow anything to touch his face; meaning I'm NEVER going to get my little man to actually drink water out of a bowl. We are working on a gerbil feeder, but when he gets too excited, that too, puts liquid on his face and a panic attack ensues. At 4 months old, Izzy is still a bottle baby, and I'm still milking goats to feed him.
Back to the cyborg cow/goat thing, because I know that's the interesting part:
We visited the vet today, to go over why Izzy is suddenly holding one leg up (no conclusion on that one), and to see if there was anything else we could do for his bloat issue.
What is bloat? For me, it happens when I eat too many Altoids at once. For goats, there can be two kinds of bloat, and both are fairly life threatening.
Most of his life, we have been treating Izzy for Gas bloat, which means the stomach is filled with gas when they eat too fast, etc. It can be cured with bloat medication, veggie oil, and even putting a tube into the stomach to allow the gas a pathway to escape. Today at the vet, since no treatments were working, we did an xray and inserted a tube; no gas came out. Conclusion; Izzy has frothy bloat, which is harder to release than gas bloat.
The xray concerned me; it looks like Izzy may have eaten a string. This is un-conclusive; Dr. Lee says the curly line on the xray is most likely the edge of his intestines, because strings don't typically show up on xrays. Strings also have a nasty habit of killing critters that eat them fairly quickly, and since Izzy has had the same problem since day one and hasn't keeled over, we are hoping it's just his intestines feeling pressure and showing up from that big belly of gas. I can assure you I'll be watching Izzy like a hawk waiting for a baby goat meal for any signs of distress from a string. Follow up xrays will ensue to see if the lines move (string) or stay fairly stable (intestine). They are also being sent to CSU for further advice on his bloat issue. Good news is that his heart and lungs still look good, despite the pressure from his stomach.
Back to the bloat, which you can also see in the xray: apparently, ruminants need other ruminants to hang out with when they are infants, in order to build up bacteria from their fellow adult species so they can properly digest food. (directly meaning, it's okay to eat your fellow goat's poop.) Because I had to whisk Izzy away from all other goats when he was a wee little guy to save his life, he didn't build up that bacteria from the adults. This may be the reason that Izzy has frothy bloat and wasn't responding to the medications. He literally can't digest food. So today, we made Izzy part cow. Dr. Lee removed digestive juices from the stomach of a cow, and then tube fed them to Izzy. Izzy was absolutely not happy; the juices smell just like what comes out the back end of a cow, and I imagine the taste was pretty similar. (my dog on the other hand, probably would have loved this procedure since she thinks cow pies are dessert). Dr. Lee and I were showered in the cow intestinal juice when Izzy decided to struggle (yum!) But Dr. Lee is a gentleman and took the brunt of the foul liquid. (I had to change my clothes, Dr. Lee probably needed a shower.) We will be doing this procedure for the next 4 days. It has an official medical term, but basically Izzy now has cow vomit in his stomach. Yum yum. Hopefully the transfer of bacteria helps him to digest on his own!
Thanks everyone, for all of your love and support and new friendship! Despite all of the medical ups and downs, I assure you that Izzy has a good, fun life. We still go for walks twice a day with Piper, hang out outside to graze, and I take him to as many events as I can get away with. Check out the cute photo of Izzy at the horse roundup this weekend; it was so fun to see his amazement at the stampede of such large, beautiful creatures. As always, you can check out his daily fun adventures on instagram or facebook.
Rory and Izzy
After CBS left, Izzy had a rough rest of the day; he basically passed out and I had to do the ol’ wake him up with honey trick; meaning his glucose levels were incredibly low so we put a little honey in his mouth to help him recover. Dr. Meyring also gave him an anti-inflammatory; as you have heard, he has been struggling to eat. Earlier this month he suffered from bloat, and now that we’ve overcome that, we think he may have some stomach ulcers. 4 days later and some goat peptobismol and Izzy is back to being a little bit more himself. I’m learning to expect the rollercoaster for his stomach: some days he eats, and some days he doesn’t. Some days he is an excited happy goat, and some days, he feels ill. The melting snow and start of green grass is drastically helping his system and mellowing out the roller coaster; I haven’t had to dose him with honey since he has had access to fresh greens. (I thought the goat’s milk he drinks every 4 hours would give him his sugars, but apparently his healing body is in need of more.) I’m considering growing some grass in my house to get through the winter; it sounds odd, but to a person who has a goat living in her house and hay on her living room floor, it pretty much fits the weirdness. Considering all that Izzy has been through, he is a champ and despite the rollercoaster, I’m so lucky to have him in my life.
If you’re following Izzy, you may notice he is going through some hair loss. Nothing to fear! He had a second bout of Goat Lice ( I know, ewww!) but it’s not contagious unless you happen to be another goat, and Izzy doesn’t have any contact with any goats right now. When I adopted Izzy, he was full of lice, and it sounds like lice can actually hibernate and avoid medication, so even though it was the first thing I treated when I adopted him and he has been clean since, one decided to wake up and wreak havoc again. I found evidence of it, and we immediately treated him in with a lice shot and powder in case the louse had friends (the shot hurts Izzy pretty badly, but apparently it kills all the lice within 24 hours). That was last week, before the news crew came, so the hair loss in his photos is just his body responding to the bites from previously. Cosmetically not pretty, but health wise, he is fine. Just another annoying hurdle for this little guy to overcome.
Personal update: becoming better at milking goats. Last night I completed my third night of milking; three females a night and I get to bring home ¼ -1/2 gallon to save for a few days to help feed Izzy. I’m not sure if this is a useful life skill, but I’ll add it to my resume anyway.
If you missed it; Sunday we had an amazing day outside! Izzy came with my family and pups to play in the snow and have a fun cross country ski! It was an incredibly warm, sunny day; I suspect the Vitamin D did him well and set him off for a great week!
Thank you all. New and old. Thanks for being a part of Izzy’s story, or as I like to call it, “Team Izzy.” This little goat touched my life, and I’m amazed at how many other lives he has touched, as well. Thank you for the shares, the social media ‘likes’ and the donations. Izzy doesn’t know it, but because of you, he is one lucky little goat with a very bright future.
Don't forget to check out his instagram account for daily updates! :) www.instagram.com/izhe_izzy
This week has been a breakthrough. As always; there are ups and downs. For the past two weeks, since finding a local who had goat's milk for sale and appealing to his taste buds to eat, Izzy has been fighting a condition called bloat. He again regressed to not eating much, if at all, and his stomach has been distended as though he were a pregnant female. Needless to say, I have rather nervous; I hated seeing him lose weight and show no interest. I gave him access to Baking Soda, which helps prevent gas, and tried a number of other tricks. Thank goodness, Dr. Lee came up with a medication - he is on his last dose today and I hope this will help him for the future as well!
Also lingering in the back of my mind has been the need for goat's milk. Merry, our 'milk dealer' is out of milk until late April/May when she has babies. We still have 1 gallon frozen, and I've been mixing it half and half with powered milk to make it last. (Izzy hates the powered milk). Last night, thanks to the help of friends, I was put in touch with a local who needs help milking his goats! I will be spending Monday and Friday evenings milking his goats for him, and in return, he will give me a half gallon of milk each session for Izzy! This will be more than enough to keep Izzy going; I'm so excited to do away with the powered formula entirely!
Izzy has helped me as much as I have helped him.
He has taught me so much about true friendship and compassion. About the compassion a complete stranger can have, and the support a true friend can give. THANK you, to my friends, who have understood how important my 'saving Izzy' mission is. Those who have supported me, understood my insane sleep deprivation, tendency to forget things, and necessity to put this little goat first and foremost. Thank you to those people who don't show anger when I'm constantly late (Izzy's prosthetics fall off, or he refuses to eat if I make a date), to those who shape their own schedules around Izzy's 4-hour breaks between bottle feeding times so that I can actually hang out and see people between his feedings, and to those who have understood my complete disappearance from the things I formerly lived for (skiing, climbing, etc). THANK you, friends. Even if you can't donate money, your understanding has been essential in this journey. Also, thank you supporters! Because of you, we can keep affording this adventure, and continuing on towards health and prosthetics!