I am writing with sad news for those who do not read me on Facebook. My oldest goat girl Mother Goose passed away in the wee hours of Friday morning. I sat with her through the night awaiting the release that we all knew was coming. She lived 21 years from what we can figure and at least the last 16 years she spent here full of love and compassion. It did not start out that way - she came from a kill barn and was not treated with much kindness for her first 5 years of her life but all that changed when she got here.
Mother Goose was not a looker at all. She blew out every year great Cashmere down but came to us with horrible hooves that looked more like curled slippers. She always looked like she swallowed two basketballs even when she was not expect babies. She would walk around grumping and talking with a deep harsh voice that was anything but lady like. One the plus side, she was a fantastic mother, often she would take on someone baby when the mother just could not handle them, she watched out for bad beasties and would sound the alarm if the dogs happened to miss one. Mother Goose also had the good sense to tell me quickly when I needed to slow down and smell the sweet cool air. She was a honest goat friend to me...
I want to share how her passing was felt by the other animals on this farm. As I sat with her in her favorite corner where she gave birth to everyone of her babies we were not alone. Chief sat next to her and licked her eyelashes softly. Chief has been with her since the moment he came onto the farm as a pup and he knew he was losing a family member. Chief and Mother Goose had a working relationship but in the last 6 months they grew close and often I would find Chief curled around her keeping her warm from the cold and walking with her when she left the barn for water. I saw him several times let her lean on him when she was not steady on her feet and many times he cleared a path for her when others got too close. It was so bitter sweet.
Then the llama's girls came into the barn the day before and would not leave the barn. This was so not how the are in their normal routine. They sat next to us watching closely as the hours passed. About two hours before her passing they started their song. Many times I have witnessed my Llama herds sit and sing (a different type of humming) after the passing of one of their own but in the last five years they have included other members of this farm in that honor. I broke into a puddle of tears when they started their song. I knew they understood that they were soon to lose a fixture of the farm and in their own way a friend. Now many a times the Llama girls and Mother Goose had words, spits and chases but in the end I could see they felt connected to another..
As the song continued I had 23 goat girls standing or sitting close to us watching and waiting. As the hours continued and she became weaker they moved closer and closer until by the end I was covered with goats each touching her and then leaning on me as if to say "Good Bye".... After her passing each goat touched her again and then walked to their spot in the barn. I had already moved the sled up to the barn and so I picked her up and placed her in the sled. As I left the barn with her the Llama girls followed to the gate all the while still singing..
As I crossed the farm I took her to each of her offspring so they could say their good byes. Kasha said her gentle good bye and then placed her paw on the sled and held it there for a few minutes. Llama Boy walked with us and stopped at each barn as the others said their peace. Llama Boy stopped at the gate to the forest and then said his good byes.
Sophia was the last to see her and even thou she did not get alone much with Mother Goose she licked her eyelashes and pressed her head on her horns. I pulled the sled out to the forest and laid my dear one to rest on the moss covered rocks deep in the quite forest. I sat with her for a bit and thought I had finished the last of my tears but not even close. Even trying to write this it is with tears streaming down my face. I know to some they can never understand and I do not even care if you do. I have spent 16 years with this soul and she has a place always in my heart. She may not had been a looker but she is perfection in my heart.