Hello, blog world. I've taken the last week off from the internet and spent time healing with my family and the goat herd. We lost our beautiful baby goat, Snowdrop, last Sunday.
I relocated three of my goats to a new home and during the scuffle of transport I somehow left Snowdrop in the house. We did this often, as she would eat some grain and join us in the living room to get some treats, or get brushed, or pet and played with.
But this time she decided to explore another area of the house, the door was open, and the chicken food was in there. I didn't know anything had happened until the next day and by that time, it was too late. She was ill and died very quickly. I tried everything to save her. I was devastated.
|Firefly and her daughter, Lucy. I love Firefly's eyes in this photo, dilated and full of sympathy.|
When I told the rest of the herd that Snowdrop was gone, I was sobbing. From her first moments, rescuing her from the snow and then bottle feeding her round the clock after her mother rejected her, lying on the sawdust with those two little kids at 3 am, the look in her eyes when I gave her the bottle. I swear it was like nursing a baby, the love she gave us. She followed me like a puppy.
|Lucy was bewildered when I grieved with the herd.|
|Firefly the great.|
The thing about goats, although they form strong bonds with each other and their caregivers, is that they forget. When a baby is removed from it's mother, the mother will cry for a while and then move on. (Unlike elephants, who do not forget lost members of the herd and continue to honor them and grieve, as a human would.) So while the goats understood that I was in pain and they were silently sympathetic, they no longer care to remember their lost friend, and Snowdrop's mother was sold, so she is not here to grieve her, either.
|Gordon, the whether|
It was difficult to go out and be with the herd after her death, because so many goats were gone. I not only missed my baby who died, but the three other goats who had found a new home. The herd felt so small, and there was -and still is- a big hole left by Snowdrop's passing. She had so much personality, and was so beautiful.
I grieved because I will never get to milk her, or attend her birth and raise her kids as well. For all that we had been through together, all of my hard work and nurturing, only to lose her to one stupid mistake.
As you can tell I am still very sad, though the pain is healing and I have realized that in no way am I interested in boarding out my goats, I love them all. They are so giving. They give me milk, meat, poop for the garden, strong leather, and most of all they are loving and adoring animals. Milking my goats is the best part of my day, a time for quiet, for appreciation, reflection.
I visited the goats that I sold, including Nemo, my youngest milker, who licked the tears from my face when I told her that Snowdrop was gone, even though she didn't understand. They are very happy and have lots of salal and brambles to eat at their new home.
I will continue to mourn this loving creature that I was blessed to care for, for only ten weeks. She has traveled across the rainbow bridge and I can only hope to breed my billy goat from the same line as Snowdrop, who was the only girl goat left from Barney, the gentle Alpine goat I bought last fall and then sold after breeding him.