As you may know, Nancy lost his best friend, Dolly, a few weeks ago. They were the very best of friends and could always been found wandering around together. They met very shortly after Dolly arrived at HEEFS. She was scared and in isolation because we were treating her for several injuries and medical conditions. Sensing this, Nancy immediately positioned himself in front of Dolly’s stall and stayed there, day after day, keeping her company and helping her feel safe. Once Dolly was feeling better and was allowed out to meet the other HEEFS residents, it was Nancy who took up a permanent position by her side. Dolly was Nancy’s world.
Mourning his friend
Sadly, we lost Dolly a few weeks ago. She was battling many ongoing health issues and it finally became too much for her. Immediately after Dolly’s passing, and for the following few days, Nancy was clearly “lost”. No doubt, he was thinking that Dolly was simply at one of the many day trips she made to OVC for check ups and treatments and would be back soon. Even when Dolly was gone for those short trips, Nancy would wander around looking for her. For the first few days, Nancy would go to the spots where he and Dolly liked to spend time together - in front of Esther’s waterfall, by the coop, in the shade eating grass together, at the back of the barn and in their stall.
He was clearly looking for his friend. All of the HEEFS staff and volunteers made sure to give Nancy the time and space he needed to grieve, but also to be there with extra love and attention.
After about four days he started to get back into his old “Nancy” habits doing things that he liked to do before Dolly arrived at the Sanctuary like visiting Len after breakfast, taking himself for walks up to the goat barn (which he couldn’t do the last month he was with Dolly because she was increasingly immobile) and going on more adventures in general.
Getting better every day
To help him out after Dolly’s passing, we would make sure to spend lots of time with him and offer lots of extra snuggles. We would even let him visit the coop - supervised. Coop visits are not something that Nancy would often be allowed to do for a variety of reasons. First, because he was bred to be used for meat, he is genetically programmed to eat continuously. He has no “I’m full” button, so being in the coop with food readily available provides a serious health risk for Nancy. There’s also the risk that he could get into a struggle with Richard which would not end well for Nancy. But we made sure to close the feed hops and let him explore and socialize, supervised, for short periods of time. This helped Nancy feel less lonely. We would also carry him around with us (he was used to that and enjoys it!) and we’d take him for rides around the Sanctuary. After a week, we sensed that he was feeling better so we backed off and let Nancy take the lead doing “Nancy” things again. Today Nancy is back to following the staff and volunteers around like he used to do and enjoying lots of love and attention.