Rotted boards gave way and Rosie the alpine dairy goat was left hanging by her left leg from the roof of a pasture lean-to for who knows how long, her owner Dina Townsend said in an interview with The News on her Charlotte hobby farm last week. The unfortunate incident ultimately resulted in an amputation and a rather inspirational chain of events.
Townsend and her husband where both at work and their two daughters were at school when it happened. “She could have been hanging there for ten minutes or eight hours, we just don’t know,” Townsend said.
On that fateful June evening, the local vet raced over to find extensive nerve damage as Rosie’s brother Milo looked on. The two were just three-months-old when they arrived on the farm a year ago with a specific job to clear brush. “We realized quickly they were like puppies you keep in the barn,” Townsend said. “These goats are sweet and we bonded with them much more than we ever expected.”
Rosie dragged her dead leg for about six weeks while the family hoped for her nerve endings to regenerate. But wounds and infections became a daily aggravation. In dragging the leg, lesions formed around her ankle. The family found themselves in a never-ending cycle of wound treatment, antibiotics and experimenting with different kinds of splints.
Then one morning last month, Rosie’s leg bent unnaturally about 90 degrees forward. “It was really ugly,” Townsend said. “I thought I was going to have to put her down but I wanted to make sure I exhausted every possible option.”
So, she started calling around and found the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in New York. In talking with the folks there Townsend found hope for Rosie, and a whole lot of support to find solutions. They introduced her to Ronnie Graves, an amputee who founded Veterinary Inclusive Prosthetics Orthotics, previously known as Equine Bracing Solutions. He was instrumental in Townsend’s education on the subject.
“All of these resources that I didn’t even know existed were all of a sudden plentiful,” Townsend said.
After extensive schooling on specific ways to get Rosie’s leg amputated that would allow for a prosthetic, Townsend packed the hefty goat into the family Subaru and headed to Granville Veterinary Service in New York where they specialize in large animal surgeries.
“When they agreed to do the amputation, I started a Go Fund Me campaign, because I had no idea how much it would cost,” Townsend said. “I thought if a community of people who cared came up with $10 each maybe the expense would be manageable for my family.”
The surgery went smoothly a couple of weeks ago but none of the leg could be salvaged due to extreme atrophy, which means no prosthetic for Rosie. This was a huge setback because it’s taxing for an animal, Townsend said. Her good legs and hooves could become compromised by carrying too much weight.
Enter Eddies Wheels who designs wheelchairs, or carts rather, for animals. Rosie’s cart is on order. It’s about $1,500. Her amputation was only about $600. But what’s priceless about the whole ordeal is the educational opportunity Rosie is providing for those around her, Townsend said.
“I have seen the best of mankind through this,” she said. “The people that have helped our family and Rosie is unreal.”
Rosie was never good at clearing brush because she is afraid of coyotes, so now there’s a new job on the horizon. After she’s healed and her cart arrives, the new hope is to be able to visit the Ronald McDonald House and attend Veterans Affairs events or anything to help local amputees. “She’s sweet and easy and there is a therapy aspect to this whole thing now,” Townsend said.
When will the healing be over? Townsend said when she herself is able to kneel and garden again since she’s been recovering from a torn meniscus and her own surgery right alongside Rosie. “I tripped down my stairs. Same leg,” Townsend said. “She had her surgery a few days before me so I had some forced down time to hang out in the barn with her. It’s given me a benchmark for when she will be ready for her cart. It was a funny set of circumstances but in a way perfect.”
To learn more about Rosie and to follow her progress visit GoFundMe.