What better way to start off 2021 then by bringing back the Goat of the Week posts? Life is hard, times are strange and I feel the need to continue to share the stories of my beloved herd members. I always find it much easier to talk about my animals anyways, and although I am completely biased, my critters have some pretty awesome stories to share. I wouldn't be a good human friend to my animal colleagues if I didn't use my voice to help spread their messages of love and hope, and so I feel it is my duty to do so. They all have such special, sweet souls, and it is my pleasure to be their voice. When deciding to start these stories back up again, it was a very easy decision on who I'd want to start with. So without further ado, let me begin...
Godric was born on June 18, 2018. He was the first born of triplets, born to SRK Cosmos (Sire), and SRM B'elanna (Dam). He and his two sisters were the first of our Sky River Meadows herd to be born at our new home on the Woodfield property. The birth of Godric and his sisters, Rowena and Ariana, was unique and memorable for me. Their dam had two breeding dates, one week apart, which appeared to have resulted in two conception dates. I'll explain of course. Each birth requires special care and attention, including a close physical exam of each baby soon after birth. This is to ensure that all is well and everything is where it should be. During my exam I noticed that both Godric and Rowena were very healthy, both weighing just over 3 pounds each, and both having their teeth erupted - which is what you want to find. Ariana in comparison weighed in at just over 1.5 pounds and had no teeth pushing through her gums yet, a sign of prematurity. How incredible! After the triplets were born, B'elanna passed two separate placentas. One had contained twins - Godric and Rowena, the other contained a single - Ariana, further evidence to my hunch about their birth. The size difference between the three was obvious, and I was deeply concerned that it would be a challenge for Ariana to strive while competing with her siblings for milk. Under normal circumstances I think she would struggled more, however she had Godric for a brother and he seemed to look out for Ariana right from the very beginning.
It is normal to observe siblings fight over the teats when it comes times to nurse from mom. She does only have two teats to feed her babies from after all, so when there's more than two mouths to feed this can be a problem. Often when triplets are born, I need to pay special attention that ALL the kids are getting enough to eat while they grow, and intervene where necessary. Fortunately for Ariana, and a credit to Godric, her biggest competition was her sister Rowena. Godric seemed content to defer to either of his sisters, and instead spent his time defending them aggressively from all the other baby goats in the herd. Godric was NOT fond of sharing his sisters and if either of his sisters was found playing with the other kids, Godric would step in and pick a fight ending all play very quickly. Godric was AMAZING at being a big brother, but really struggled socially with the other "Harry Potter" kids. For this reason it took him longer than most to find his place within the bigger herd as he matured.
Right from the beginning Godric was quirky, just like his mom. An independent thinker and happy to go his own way, Godric was always unique from the other wethers (fixed males) in my herd. With no interest in playing with anyone but his siblings, one could think of him as anti-social. If he wasn't with his older siblings Earin and Gandalf, he would ALWAYS be found with his mom ❤ Perhaps it is the common interest they both shared in finding tasty things to eat, or the fact that Godric inherited his mother's beautiful, soft amber eyes, but to me I think he is most like her of all her children. B'elanna and Cosmos have had 9 children together. Twins, Earindil & Gandalf in 2017, triplets: Godric, Rowena & Ariana in 2018, and quadruplets: Yara, Girly, Margaery & Melisandre in 2019. This large family has been very helpful in my research and the development of my herd. It's through sharing my lives with families like Godric's, that exist within my herd, that I have learned so much about animal bonds, love and relationships. Make no mistake, the loving bonds that we share and experience as humans are not so different from what our animal friends share.
Winding our way through life, we rarely come out unscathed. We all earn bumps, bruises and scars along life's path. This is true even for animals which Godric learned first hand a few weeks ago, as some of you may have seen or read. Godric tripped coming out the gate at evening chores and the entire herd trampled over top of him in their own hurry to get to dinner. Poor Godric really took a beating, being rolled over and over while being stampeded over. When the herd passed, my son and I were able to assist Godric to his feet and move him to a box stall to wait to be seen by our vet, Dr. Kelli Drost, who confirmed my fears - he had broken his leg. Godric has been proudly sporting his new cast for a few weeks now and is doing remarkably well. I personally think the isolation with his sisters appeals to him. He has learned to adapt to the weight of his big cast and has found ways to sleep comfortably. He has almost reached the halfway mark to getting the cast removed. Until then, Godric must rest in isolation with his sisters. The irony of his situation and the parallels to what we are all facing in our own lives has not escaped me. Godric is in a lockdown of his own and can't visit with the rest of his herd. I feel you buddy. ❤ I long to see my herd again too.
Life is hard and going into 2021, it doesn't look like it will be any easier than 2020 was. The challenges of the last year has taken it's toll on many. My business which had barely even opened it's doors has been faced with two lockdowns and loss of ability to even connect with my main clientele. Lockdown or not, these guys need feed and care 24/7. A big part of the commitment I make to my animals, is that I will always honour them. Although my herd is happy, healthy and love the work we do, you might be surprised to learn that not all of my herd WANT to be therapy goats. There are some distinct opinions amongst some members of my herd that when the right family comes along, they would like the chance to move on. I have faced this situation a couple of times in the past where a bond and connection was created that was undeniable. Who am I to stand in the way of true love and connection? I'll tell you, I'm NOT one to stand in the way or to try to deny truth. When a bond is made, and a relationship begins, it truly is a beautiful thing. I mention this now because I have made the difficult decision that Godric and his sisters Rowena and Ariana will be leaving my farm this coming spring. A friend and volunteer has offered them the loving home that I know they've been waiting for. My heart is sad knowing that I will miss seeing them daily, but it is happy knowing they will get more attention and spoiling where they're going. I was hopeful it would be a good fit and when this family of 3 met my trio, it was love at first sight. Honestly it couldn't be more perfect. Godric and his sisters will have the quieter life that I know they've longed for, which will also benefit Godric if his leg gives him any more trouble down the road. Best part is that they are staying local so I can visit. 😁 There is something very special about this goat family. I know that they will freely share their love and it will spread with them where they go ❤❤