Apifera Farm is home to artist Katherine Dunn and landscaper Martyn Dunn. Located in mid coast Maine, Apifera takes in needy animals but also shares them with elder people. They are a 501[c][3]. Contact with questions.
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It was a very hard good bye, but we knew it was the best thing we could do for our elder Matilda. She was 30 years old and had lost the ability to get up. What was so hard was that she had come out of winter so good, her blood work in June was good [Matilda had Cushings] and she had really good weight. My vet and I were so pleased. But one day, she could not rise and my farrier was here and he and I were able to get her up. In the coming week, getting her up required the tractor [which can be dangerous for animal and human]. There were glimmers of hope within that week, but I knew what was coming. We considered other options-stronger pain meds for example- but it all came down to the fact she could not rise, and I could not get her up on my own. Our vet also suspected her right hind leg had damage, which can happen when they are down a lot. This also met she could not go down into the field, for if she went down in the heat or sun it could be problematic, as well as horse flies are abundant.

Equines are flight creatures. To not be able to get up, no matter how good the care, is emotionally hard for them.

Matilda came to us at age 20, from a neglect case. She had been used as a brood jenny for years but her owners fell on bad times and Matilda and her herd suffered without proper care. On arrival she was bone thin, weak, with curled toes. It took a good year to get weight on her. Caring for her for ten years has been an honor. The fact she lived to 30 after all she had been through shows what a strong spirit she had.

About three days before Matilda could not get up, I looked out the window and saw she had separated herself from the herd and was lying in the lower field. This was unheard of-donkeys are very bonded creatures. It was also unusual that the other donkeys, especially Paco who is very close to Matilda, did not bray or go to her. I took note, and mentioned it to Martyn. A week later, Matilda would be gone.
On the day of her death, I let the donkeys inspect her body-this is our way here, it is an important part of the death process. I wondered if Paco would show any signs of concern. The donkeys all sniffed her, and then ran off into a field of daisies. I am sure they had already said their good byes, and it gave me comfort because they had accepted it, as had Matilda. Their acceptance allowed me to be at peace with this hard good bye.
If you'd like to make a donation in Matilda's honor, thank you >
Copyright © Katherine Dunn of Apifera Farm*. All rights reserved.


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Katherine Dunn/artist of Apifera Farm · Apifera Farm · Yamhill, OR 97148 · USA

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