The beginning of the show season is always an exciting time for stock show kids and families. You buy an animal and immediately envision a bright future with them; the opportunities for buckles and banners are endless. It’s rare that anyone takes the time to stop and think about the uncertainty of raising livestock, the “what if’s”.
At the beginning of the year, I bought a sheep that caught my eye from the moment I saw him. He was everything you wanted in a show sheep; built with all the right parts and the perfect personality to match. I had high, high hopes for him at our state fair, and I probably put more work into him than I ever had with a sheep before. Countless hours were spent working hair, exercising, and practicing showmanship. He truly was my pride and joy. And, he was supposed to be my last hurrah. One day, I got a call from my sister saying I needed to take a look at him because something was very wrong. After a late night emergency vet visit and several rounds of every antibiotic in the countryside, nothing was working. He passed four days after the initial find. I searched for days on end for an answer. Once I found that answer I put heaps of blame on myself, even though his cause of death was an issue I would have never known had I not sought out professional opinion. Scenarios like this happen whether they’re in our control or not. No matter the case, the heart break from a “what could have been” situation is unbearable.
Sometimes the most important life lessons are the ones that are learned the hard way. Whether it’s a mistake that you made or an inevitable mishap, there is something that you can take from that experience to better yourself for the future; there is always knowledge in heart break.
“Doing what I love, loving what I do,” is the quote that I base my life upon. Inspired by my grandfather, I strive to be a service-minded individual in both the stock show and agriculture industries. Growing up you could find me in the barns with my lambs and goats, serving as an officer for my FFA chapter, or playing badminton! Though my hometown is in Sonoma County, California I am currently living in Chico, California as I pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and a teaching credential in Agriculture Education. I look forward to the next year guest blogging for Weaver Leather Livestock and am so grateful for the opportunity!