I am going to really enjoy telling this week's Goat of the Week story. All of the goats in my herd are special, however there are certain goats that stand out more to me personally than some of the others. Each person that comes here will leave having made at least one goat friend. Maisie is one who stands out for me the most because if I was to describe which goat in my herd would be considered my "best goat friend" - it would be Maisie hands down. (No offense to my human bestie - you know I love you too xoxo) Maisie and I have been through a lot together and she has an extraordinary story, that I am so pleased to share with you all.
Maisie was born on a cold morning on January 11, 2012. She was born at a very special place called Haute Goat. At the time, owners Debbie and Shain were on a farm in Campbellford, ON. (This wonderous place is now located in Port Hope, ON.. I highly recommend checking them out and booking an incredible experience. https://hautegoat.com/)
Maisie and her older twin brother (who they called "Boo") were an unexpected surprise for Debbie and Shain. Fortunately for Maisie and her brother, their early arrival didn't impede their ability to thrive and grow, and as Debbie takes such wonderful care of her animals, they were always safe and warm. Fortunately for me, I was already in contact with Debbie as I had purchased another doe - Maisie's older paternal sister Carmela just a few months prior. There was a specific personality type that I was seeking for my breeding program, and from all of the herds I visited with, the goats at Haute Goat were particularly calm, with easy going temperaments. The three foundation does for temperament in the Sky River Meadows herd, ALL came from Tripping Billies lines. They are; Tripping Billies Carmela, Tripping Billies Loo (Maisie), and Tripping Billies Delilah. They are all truly beautiful souls, that we have Debbie and Shain at Haute Goat to be grateful for. Each and every generation down the line has remained true to the solid, calm temperament that these girls brought to my breeding program. Oh, and better yet - MILK!!! All three of these girls are now retired from breeding, showing and milking, but each one of them gave me over 2L of milk daily which is pretty incredible coming from a little goat!
I first saw a picture of Maisie when she was only a few weeks old. I can't speak for love at first sight amongst humans, but I can say that for me it truly was love at first sight of wee Maisie. MISCHIEF - right from the moment we got her home, and she really never stopped. Her intelligence was apparent right from day one as well. She was so tiny when she arrived that I was too frightened to put her with the herd, so of course I moved her right into the house ;) Maisie quickly made friends with our dogs, and then quickly took over the household. The dogs learned quickly to be wary of Maisie as she could pack a hard, quick wallop with a head butt. Even my Dad's poor dog Daisy learned the hard way when she was just a pup and Maisie just a kid. They were virtually the same size, but Maisie won. To date, Maisie is one of three goats in my herd that I say will take on any sized dog. She is fearless.
Maisie has earned a lot of distinction in my herd over the years. The most notable for me is that she was the first goat that I housetrained. It took three days. That was it. Shocking no? I've learned more since then and now know you can actually housetrain a goat inside of twelve hours, or 3 repetitions if they are smart enough. Maisie would scratch at the front door with her hoof to go out, if she needed to ask to go out. She never had an accident in the house once she knew what was expected of her. I was blown away with the ease in which it took to train her. Fast forward that ability to not go potty indoors to today, and voila! You have a goat that can now do house calls. For me it was a breakthrough that may have fast-forwarded my dream of opening a therapeutic animal farm for my animal assisted therapy practice. If anything, realizing that I could train a goat to go with me anywhere was the fuel I needed to fire my dreams. I immediately changed the focus of my studies to get me closer to my dream, and began taking Maisie everywhere with me, including even to University (that's a story for another time). She may even be in a grad photo taken of me 3 years later, but again, a story for another time. :) To this day, Maisie still enjoys going for a ride, and is always up for an adventure.
Maisie, like most goats, will try to scare you with how quickly they can become ill. Maisie has kind of made a career out of trying to die on me. She tests my abilities every single winter, with random bouts of pneumonia. She has also undergone a few surgeries the last few years to deal with some health issues. She grew a tumour on her side that we had removed and analyzed - fortunately came back benign. She also underwent dental surgery to remove her teeth due as they were loosening and causing all kinds of problems for her. She is better able to gain weight now, and actually manages to eat just fine. We intervene where necessary to give her the extra her body needs. Her one downfall to no teeth is that she can't scratch herself without her teeth. She has learned to expect full body rubs from everyone she meets. She also LOVES to be groomed and is willing to stand for as long as someone is willing to brush. Her lack of teeth make her pretty comical, as there is nothing to keep her tongue in her mouth. It is often hanging out, especially as she runs :)
Maisie has some incredible strengths and she shows amazing resilience. She has encountered pretty much any number of frightening things, and she just takes everything in stride. Honestly, I get more stressed out than she does when we are asked to do something. I think Maisie thinks she is a comedian. She will do things sometimes just to get a reaction from people. She also loves to dress up and has worn some impressive costumes over the years. Maisie has also always been my best teacher for training someone on how to milk a goat. Over the years, Maisie has likely taught hundreds if not a thousand people to milk - most of the children. A highlight of Maisie's career was the time she was featured on a YouTube channel called The River and Wilder Show! Check out the video below
As incredible as Maisie is in all things she takes on, I think her biggest gift is in her ability to connect directly to people's hearts. Those beautiful ice blue eyes of hers stare directly into your soul. Maisie has an uncanny ability to know exactly who needs to see her when we go into a residential home, hospital or hospice setting. She is always respectful and quiet, allowing those she visits with to be comforted by her presence and soft coat. Watching Maisie work touches my heart in ways nothing else ever has. It is a gift to be able to share her love with others as well. I am hoping this ability and gift that Maisie has passes on through her genetics. I currently also have Maisie's grand daughter B'Elanna, and great-grand daughter Yara in training to help us in our important mobile work.
In the new year Maisie will turn 8. Her time with me has been so special and we have learned so much together. I can't wait to see where the next bunch of years take us. I just know for absolutely certain - without Maisie, there would be no Sky River goat magic! She is my muse <3 Through her, all of this has become possible. To my Miss Maisie Moo XOXO