Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CLOSED AND MOVED

Hello all! This blog has been closed and moved. You can now find all the ramblings and writings of the Goat Whisperer at the link below. Thanks!


http://www.texasgoatwhisperer.com/blog

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Goat Who Started It All

Many years ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to return to the farm life. I brought home a bunch of chicks and waterfowl and raised them. I was happy with my pen full of birds, but I wanted something to go with it.

Always a Craigslist crawler, I came across an ad for Miniature goats. I went back to it a couple times, did some refresh research on dairy goats (I had meat goats as a kid) and then told my husband, "I want some dairy goats." He looked at me like I was crazy - I can't stand the smell or taste of milk, after all.

Regardless, it wasn't long before I was standing in a field looking at some goats. I pointed out one of the bigger horned does and a small cute wether to go with her, and into the car they were crammed. Hope and Uno, black and white Nigerian Dwarf goats.

They were not overly pleased with their new accommodations. We had to chase down the doe to milk her - Steven held her by the horns the first couple of times while I sat in the dirt and figured out how to work her teats, squirting the milk into a pickle jar.

Before long I could catch her with a pail of feed and I would strap her to the fence. I spent a great deal of time out there with my chickens and the goats, and soon enough, Hope and Uno began to show signs of warming up to us.

They taught me many things, first and foremost - gates to the goat pen need chains and locks. And don't leave anything they can climb on near the fence! But as they became familiar with their new home I took them out on leashes to eat the pasture, and soon enough, they were allowed out on their own during the day.

Hope also taught me the healing powers of goats when she was attacked by a dog. Despite her leg being quite wounded, I diligently cared for it several times a day and she healed - a year later you would have never known she had been hurt. We became fast friends.

She brought into the world my first kids, two sweet bucklings and a stillborn kid. Another lesson on the challenges of breeding goats. Her second set of twins were born in our home due to the freezing cold. Her third set were beautiful and I still have one daughter to this day. Her forth kids were just as great. I had high hopes for this year's kids, but I am grateful to still have her daughter and a granddaughter.

She had personality in spades - dogs had nothing on her. She could drink from a soda can, and would come give you kisses and pester you to scratch her. She bossed the rest of the goats and was the undisputed herd queen at all times. Never leave the door open - in she would come to inspect the household. Dogs feared her - she even succeeded in pinning a small dog against a wall and goring it, possibly saving other goats injury and death from the stray.

She was the epitome of what I strive for in my breeding - a larger Miniature goat, deep of body and stout. Worm resistant and hardy (she was sick only once in the years she was with us), with strong feet that only needed minimal trimming. An easy doe to breed and an easy kidder. A caring mother and a dependable milker.

Her legacy will live on, in her offspring and in me. A freak accident took her from us when I needed her most, and I will never forget her and what she started. She taught me to whisper.

I love you Hope, you were my heart goat, and you are now standing guard over those who left us before you.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Remembering: Ellie

Oh Ellie. You were with us the shortest time of all, but you made the biggest impact in my life. The guilt I feel over you is almost overwhelming at times. I blame myself for not telling John where you were crated with Pixie. Could you have been saved? I'll never know, and I try very hard not to go there, as it's a dangerous path for anyone to travel down.

You were not an expected addition to the family. I was content with five dogs, two of them puppies, getting ready to move. Who in their right mind would add another puppy?

I stumbled across an ad on Craiglist for a blind puppy. I clicked off, browsing as usual, but soon came back to the post, frowning slightly. There was something...something that drew me in. It has never been in my nature to ignore something presented before me, especially when it comes with a strong feeling.

I spoke with several friends and showed them the ad, and then sent an email just to see.

Long story short, the next day I met with your breeder in the parking lot of a grocery store and brought you home. As I suspected, you were the result of a dapple x dapple Dachshund breeding, a very bad thing for anyone to do. You had one partial eye and no eye at all on the other side. In no time at all, I quickly deduced that you were stone deaf.

The vet agreed with me and we discovered you had a slightly deformed jaw with an underbite and spine, some partial use of your deformed eye, and some health concerns to keep an eye out for. I seriously thought about putting you down.

You showed me just how wrong those thoughts were.

Within days, you were running around the house. I had planned on putting a bell on you, but it was never needed - you did not get lost. In fact, you soon discovered the two spots I was most likely to be in, and when you desired to sit in my lap, you would bark at me with your funny little voice.

You quickly grew to become friends with the other dogs, Junebug as your protector and Pixie as your playmate. And you were not just loved by us, but the Internet community loved you as well. I took videos of you for them, and pictures.

Steven was smitten with you, even after not being entirely on board with the idea of a special needs puppy. You wrapped us all around your paw and we adored you. I bonded with you almost immediately, and your loss tears my heart to pieces.

You inspired people all over the world, and every day I will miss your impudent little attitude. I will miss your demanding bark to be picked up. I will miss you snuggled close at night and your joyous gallop after one of the other pups. I will miss your care-free attitude. So what if you ran into something while playing? It was just part of the fun.

There are videos of you on Youtube, and someday when my heart aches less, I will revisit them and be reminded of your determination in the face of adversity.

You were less than four months old.

Goodbye, Ellie.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Remembering: Pixie

Sweet darling little Pixie. You were part of my foster pup program, but I knew as soon as I saw you, that you would be joining my family. A super cute mixture of Chihuahua and Poodle, no one would have ever known you weren't pure Chihuahua until they saw you do a "poodle" jump straight into the air.

You had the strangest voice I'd ever heard, squeaking and mewling almost like a cat. I even have a video or two of you "singing" and people agree, you were a strange sounding little dog! When you and Ellie (who also had a strange voice) got to playing and making noise, it always made me laugh.

You were shy, the most shy pup I've ever handled. You did not like being picked up and carried about, and we tried to be as respectful of that as possible, allowing you to come to us and snuggle on your own terms.

You were super smart: the first to learn to climb onto the couch where I usually sat during evening game/movie time. You loved to bounce in excitement when I talked to you, and you, Rosy, and Ellie were one heck of a team.

You were the only one who did not prefer to sleep in the bed, instead you liked to dig holes in whatever bed I had given you guys. I can't count the number of times I awoke to a "snowstorm" of stuffing that you had pulled out gleefully.

You were with us just a short time, but your joyous little life will be remembered for all time.

You were less than six months old.

Goodbye, Pixie.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Remembering: Rosy

When our dear Lady passed away from her cancer, I knew I wanted to add another family member (or two!). It ended up being three, but two of you were planned. You, Rosy, were first. The offspring of a neighbor and good friend's two working Dachshunds.

When I went to meet the puppies, there were two females. I immedietely picked out the black and tan female, but she cried and wriggled the entire time I held her. Watching you, I noticed you were the largest pup, and while the other puppies cried or slept, you grabbed an ear and growled! I was hooked.

You came home and were startled by your new world, but you took charge of it right away. You grew quickly, surpassing both parents in size in almost no time, a real beast of a Dachshund! Your red coat was beautiful and your spirit vivacious and tenacious.

You gave me quite a lot of trouble - if you weren't chewing on something, you were tearing through the house raising hell. But you always made me laugh with your determination. The day you were able to scramble onto the bed yourself was a day to celebrate!

You were bossy and impetious, but when Pixie and then Ellie joined us, you welcomed them as playmates, friends, and sisters. You led them into all sorts of mischief and and frolic, and the word "NO!" was heard many times in the house!

But for all your trouble, you were worth it. You didn't shy away from any challenge, and your insistant nosing to be snuggled and loved on made it clear that you loved us as much as we loved you. While you were always up for a snuggle with me, you were clearly my husband's girl, and would fawn over him at every opportunity.

You were still just a baby, the eldest of our three pups. You were less than a year old, and we will miss you.

Goodbye, Rosy.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Remembering: Junebug

Dear little Junebug came into our life after we fell in love with the Boxer breed (Lady, who passed away due to cancer in mid 2012) and we wanted to add another one to our family. We planned you from the time your mother was pregnant. You were picked out right after birth.

We were able to come visit you as a tiny puppy and fell in love right away. You came home when you were old enough and fell right into place. We had a scare with you as a pup: you lost some weight and had a bit of failure to thrive, but with some assistance from your breeder and some adjustments, you began to grow!

You gave us some trouble as a youngster, and there were some times I was frustrated with you, but as you began to mature, you showed yourself to be loyal beyond all else. You had the most solid recall of any dog I have ever owned in my life.

You loved to sleep under the blanket, just like the smaller dogs. You were not happy unless you were as snuggled up to us as you could be. You would nudge me in the mornings to lift the blanket so I could cuddle up to you and sleep in.

You may have considered our poultry as your next dinner, but you had a heart of pure gold when it came to puppies. Every puppy who came into our home, be they foster or permanant family members, you took under your paw and protected, loved, played with, and cared for.

Watching you with the youngsters was always a great joy in my life. Despite being our only large dog after Lady passed away, I knew I could trust you to play gently with the others.

You had a lot of fun mannerisms, including spinning in circles when excited and "talking" to us. Every day you and I would play "tag" in the fields, taking turns chasing each other. My hearts breaks at the thought that we were never able to explore our new home and it's surroundings together, as I had planned.

You are well known to many because of your gentle caring of Ellie, and I hope they all remember you as I will.

There is some small chance that you did escape, though in my heart I do believe you ran into the house, or under it, and perished. Either way, we will probably never see you again, but I hope your spirit will live on in your sister's pup, yet unborn but expected...

You were just over two years old.

Goodbye, Junebug.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Remembering: Luna

Oh Luna...you held and will always hold a special place in my heart. You were the second dog added to our little family. You came to me in a time when I was suffering a painful loss and was falling into a spiral of depression. You were exactly what I needed.

I wasn't even expecting to get a puppy - my aunt asked me to come look at puppies with her. You were actually Star's half sister, born a year later from a planned Chihuahua breeding. I saw your fat little white body and fell in love immediately.

While you never learned the tricks your big sister did, you learned ones of your own.We would tease you, telling you to "get the bad guy" and you would puff up and bark like you were someone fierce! But anyone who visited would get a mouthful of kisses from you.

Your joy in life transferred to all of us. Watching you fearlessly play with the larger dogs always made me laugh and brightened my day. You were the undisputed Queen of the farm, and the other dogs lived by your discretion.

Your favorite toys were always ones that were too big for you. You loved to sleep under the blanket, in a pillowcase, in my shirt. No way would you be found "naked." You put up with me stuffing you into cute clothing with a patience that you showed no one else.

You were bold, brave, friendly, and loving. You were a true heart dog, the kind that comes along so rarely in our lives.

You were just six years old, and each of those six years were an honor to share with you by my side, or more often, in my shirt.

Goodbye, my sweet Luna.