Please don’t turn away.
I know it’s hard to look at me. But I am someone. I matter. And I didn’t always look this way. I was young and carefree and healthy once. People thought I was cute and funny and took videos of my antics. Please hear my story. Please acknowledge that I matter, that my life matters, even if I am just an old goat.
I was born a 4-H project– raised by a little girl who loved me, coddled me, kept me clean and fed me well. We used to pretend that she was a pilot, and I’d leap and jump…a passenger flying in her plane. She told me all of her secrets. I knew the names the kids at school called her. I knew how her mother scolded her for being “scraggly”, and warned her she’d never find a husband if she didn’t learn to clean house. She cried into my fur when one of her classmates had a birthday party and invited everyone but her.
I loved her so much! I loved listening to her problems. I loved to comfort her and make her smile. I thought we’d be together forever, best friends. But then one day there was a big contest. I didn’t win, but she sold me. She was crying the whole time, her mother admonishing her to grow up. Her father told her, “That’s just the way things are.”
I was taken to a clean, pretty farm, and put in a pasture with other goats. They all had horns, but mine had been cut off by the little girls’ father. I thought of my little girl as they bullied me. Finally, I understood what she had been through. I learned to stay out of the way, to be quiet and unassuming. As long as I didn’t sit somewhere they wanted to sit, or try to eat something they wanted to eat, they ignored me.
The farmer was nice. He gave me cookies and banana peels when the others weren’t looking. But then something happened.
I got pregnant. Oh! Finally I would have someone of my own, someone to love and care for! Someone who would never leave me!
Things got really good for a while. The farmer separated me from the bullies and fed me special food. Then my baby was born and he was a beauty! Long lashes, chocolate brown eyes, ears way too big for his little head! We frolicked and played and I thought I’d never be happier.
I was right.
One day the farmer came and took him away, and then put me back in the pasture with the bullies. I cried for my baby and did everything I could to get the farmer to give him back, but he was gone. I never heard from him again. At least in those days I was too naive to know where the babies went when the farmer took them from us.
Every year after that, I got pregnant. I usually had two babies. One year I even had four babies. I tried not to love them, I knew they’d just be taken away and killed. But I failed. I loved every one of them. And every time they were taken from me, a piece of my soul went with them.
One day, I realized I was an old woman. My body was worn out. My feet couldn’t hold me up anymore, my ankles were too weak. It hurt to walk, but I had to walk to graze and browse. I had become so skinny, there was nothing to me but my rumen and some bones. But still I pressed on, grazing when the sun went down, staying out of the other goats’ way. I thought of my babies and my little girl. The memories sustained me.
I thought for sure, now that I was too old to have babies, that the farmer would send me away to the place all the others have gone. But instead, something happened. I think it might be something good, but I’m not entirely sure yet.
I did get sent away, and now I am at a place they call a sanctuary. None of the other animals are frightened here, and none of them are bullies. I made a friend, sort of. A woman comes and sits with me. She sings songs and strokes my fur, and keeps trying to get me to eat. Part of me wants to melt into her and let her hold me. I want to cry into her hair like my little girl did with me all those years ago. I want someone to love me like I loved that little girl, and like I thought she loved me.
I don’t know, though. Maybe she’ll send me away like the little girl did. Maybe she’ll kill me and eat me, although she doesn’t smell like a person who would do that. I just don’t know. I’m an old goat now. If they are not going to kill me, what could they want from me?
Could it be possible, after all these years? Have I found someone to love me? Might I even make friends here? Maybe I am finally safe…
Maddie’s road to recovery will be long, involving a great deal of expensive veterinary care. Please share her story and please donate towards her care. Every dollar is matched, and every bit makes a difference.