Last Thursday morning before leaving on vacation, Brett and I were doing morning chores. I took care of the goats, opening the door to their shed and giving them hay. I gave them some scritches and scratches and then let myself out of the goat area and headed towards the house. The goats ran along the fence line calling to me. They never like it when we leave. Just as I reached the gate into the dog area, I heard Bella jump and scramble to the top of the fence. No big deal. This is also a common occurrence. She jumps out and spends some time nibbling on low hanging twigs of the cottonwood trees and then returns to her herd.
This time, the scrambling was followed by an awful cry. I turned around and she was dangling from the top of the fence by one leg. It was HORRIBLE. My heart stopped, my stomach did a somersault and I ran for Bella. I lifted her up so her weight was in my arms instead of on the hoof caught in the fence. She had caught her ankle in the chain link on the other side of the fence and when she jumped - or fell - it twisted around her foot. I was sure it was broken. She laid quietly in my arms while I un-twisted the wire holding her leg. Then I carried her into the goat area. She was pressing her little face into my shoulder for all she was worth. I sat down on the goat shed porch and held her and cried.
After awhile she wanted to go. She walked three legged with the hurt leg held high against her side. I couldn't feel any broken bones or swelling but she wasn't going to put weight on it. I went to the barn and told Brett who followed me back up. He felt her leg as well. She was getting around okay, like a three legged dog, so we went into the house to have breakfast and change into presentable travel clothes.
We checked on her again before we left and she was putting a bit of weight on the foot. She wasn't holding it off the ground but she wasn't walking normal either. When we got home this afternoon, we noticed that she was walking with weight on the leg but her gait was stiff. She had some trouble jumping up onto the porch but was doing fine otherwise.
I think her days of jumping out of the goat pen may be over. That's a good thing. I just wish it hadn't involved her getting hurt and me being scared out of my wits. I had told myself that if she jumped out some day and got killed by a loose dog or coyote, it would be okay. It would be the price of her refusing to stay put. Obviously, I was lying. I knew it when I cradled her in my arms, she put her head on my heart, and looked up at me with her eyes full of trust and gratitude.