Happy Victoria Day everyone! On this week's edition of GotW I have chosen a herd member who exemplifies what it means to be resilient. A survivor who continues to defy the odds and seemingly also Death. My dear CC, who has been riding the waves of a compromised immune system for a few years now due to some health issues, continues to fight to live, against all the odds. Just this past week I was once again convinced that it was her time to leave. This has been the dance that CC and I have danced together DAILY for over a year and a half now. Once a high standing member of the SRM herd, CC had a brush with death and dropped straight to the bottom of the pecking order and has remained there ever since. One example of how nature has it's own set of rules and no human interference or meddling can alter those natural laws. As I've been struggling through my own issues during this pandemic, I draw so much daily inspiration from this little fighter. Against all the odds and after enduring some pretty terrible pain through some of it, I know many people who wouldn't have any fight left in them, but yet she continues. No matter how tired I get, no matter how depressed I may be. If CC can keep on fighting, then dammit so can I! Each day is a battle for everyone at the moment. I try to remember I am not alone, and that this too shall pass.
Funny, but sometimes I feel a compulsion to begin these stories with Once Upon a Time... ;) These aren't fairy tales, though some may disagree. I purchased Further C.C. Rider WAAAAY back when I first started my breeding program. She had genetics that I was excited to acquire, but there was also something about her personality that appealed to me. She had this aloof way about her, like a "what the heck are you looking at?" attitude. I liked that lol. With the crazy ideas I had to create my herd, I knew I needed all kinds of personality types, and I really liked CC's style lol. She has challenged me from the very first day she arrived here all those years ago, and she continues even to today. THIS photo --> grabbed only moments ago, is THE CC stink eye. If she fires THIS at you (and she likely will), you better believe she is checking you out lol. Personally I think her grudge with me started on the day I picked her up to bring her home. On that day, she was tattooed and tossed into a trailer for a very long ride to arrive to her new home in the dark. This is not the preferred way to introduce yourself to a new friend, but it is the way mine and CC's relationship began so there is no help for it, but to work towards earning her trust from that point forward. When acquiring livestock, sometimes you have to travel a ways to get what you want. I have worked every single day to earn this ladies respect, and some days I am pretty sure I still don't have it yet LOL! You would think that in 8 years I'd have made some progress.
CC was bred to give me babies in 2013. She delivered two beautiful bucklings, but had a very difficult delivery. This was the first sign that CC had some underlying health issues that were just starting to present themselves. The two bucklings CC gave birth to that year, (SRM Apollo, and SRM Merak) were both sold as breeding bucks to other farms - a real bonus for those owners! Sadly for my breeding program though, as CC has not been in optimal health ever since that year, and therefore unsuitable for breeding in my program, she has been retired and I have lost her genetic line. I continue to work with CC in the hopes she will regain her full health, but until then I continue to dance her game with Death with her. One of the hard parts about farming is that sometimes no matter what you do to plan or prepare, there will always be surprises and setbacks. Often this lifestyle has a very raw edge to it, especially that fine line between life and death. As I have had to bury three beloved animals since November, I am not in a hurry to lose CC as well and fortunately for me she is a superior fighter! It just so happens that after a few years, I have finally found a way to get some of those lost bloodlines of CC's back into my herd! That exciting news will be announced very soon in the coming weeks!
So back to CC and her ongoing health battles. What started as a simple worm load one summer, became an ongoing battle with a skin condition, to a false positive test for CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis), to a full blown diagnosis of Polio-encephalitis which is normally fatal. CC's poor body has gone through the wringer over the last several years and sometimes it takes everything I have to keep her going. During the last 1.5 years of her life though, I have resigned myself at least half a dozen times that she was on her way out, just to have her bounce back over and over again! Our most recent scare was just over a week ago when one morning CC was suddenly down again, unable to get up. Her body temperature had plummeted again but this time she was severely anaemic all of a sudden too! The anaemia has been a completely new challenge she is throwing at me but once again she is winning the battle! I am very fortunate to have an arsenal of farm medical supplies on hand at all times for just this reason. The biggest health issue for CC at the moment is that she is still so weak and immune compromised, she tends to pick up anything and everything running through the farm. She battles pneumonia a couple times a year as well as her lungs are very prone to lung worm. Both of these issues have taken a huge toll on her physically and yet she continues to fight on. One of the other complications of the polio is that she suffers from permanent partial blindness now, and she is always just a little bit "off balance". As she continues to have ongoing relapses of the polio, CC is carefully monitored daily so her ongoing needs can be attended to. As CC prefers to be left entirely to her own devices unless she CHOOSES to spend time with you, my constant attentions to her health, plus the ongoing needles she receives for treatment, ensure that CC and I will likely always have a warring relationship. That's OK though. I think it is a small price to pay to have her around here. My farm would NOT be the same without CC.
Affection from CC is rare.....kind of like respect from her actually, come to think on it lol. The photo to the right was taken by my Grandson's mother several years ago and it is my ALL TIME favourite photo ever taken of me, as it perfectly captured a moment of PURE BLISS that I will never forget in my lifetime. It was during the summer and CC had recently recovered from a bad bout of pneumonia. I had spent many hours with her over several days, fighting to keep her going. I think this moment was about 4 or 5 days after she was fully recovered and back with the herd. We were all hanging out in the yard with the goats - as is a common activity at my place, when CC walked directly over to me and offered me this beautiful "HUG" that I know in my heart was a thank you from her. It was a turning point in my relationship with CC for sure, but she still doesn't trust me lol. That was only one of many battles we've fought over the years and to date I think I have earned a total of 3 CC hugs. This photo captured the first and best one. Anyone who volunteers or spends time here and gets to know the herd, learns about CC pretty quickly. She is truly one of the most elusive goats in the herd. Unlike Han Solo though, who is hyper sensitive so prefers to not be touched, CC actually enjoys affection! You just have to convince her you won't poke her with a needle at the same time! The poor girl has been poked and prodded so often I can't help but completely understand how she feels and so I completely respect her boundaries and only do what is necessary and with as little stress to her as possible.
As far as animals that inspire me go, CC is high up on the list. Ever since she joined my herd I have enjoyed her authentic personality. She is excellent at setting boundaries and has been an amazing teacher to me very recently again about the importance of setting boundaries. Some people are only interested in what you have to give them, and not offer you anything in return. Those kinds of relationships are very unbalanced and not healthy. I'm a bit slow at times but I am learning to recognize and change these patterns in my own behaviour. CC always seems to help me recognize and find a way to stand up for myself and my own needs as well. Another thing she reminds me of daily is that as I care for her I need to be remembering to care for myself. Self love is still something I am working towards. I admire this little goat so much. Her self assuredness, her absolute ZERO F@CKS GIVEN attitude. I have to admit, that during this pandemic CC's attitude has become a bit of a problem. When I have the herd out hiking lately, it is as if CC knows since we aren't working she can go wherever she chooses. it just so happens that the herd doesn't like to be separated so everyone follows her! It is infuriating and a few times recently she has led me on a wild goat chase when, without warning, the herd takes off in the opposite direction I was headed. Gee thanks CC!! Then I am left running after them! Grrr somedays I tell ya lol. I have been threatening to put a leash on her to keep her in line but as of yet most of my threats remain pretty hollow around here lol. I am just thrilled that somehow CC continues to find the will to keep fighting and pushing through everything life brings her way. I know one day her time will come, but it's not yet! Keep on shining C.C Rider! <3 Much love ~ Angee