This past weekend, we said goodbye to Sophie Goat, part of the sister trio with Mickey and Zephora. This sweetheart is the first goat we have lost, and it has led me to reflect on the many lessons animals pass onto us to live with compassion, connection, and care for each other.
Sophie stuck out in the herd. Being cream colored with caramel spots, she was a gorgeous goat among our predominately black and tan herd. However, she did NOT like to interact with humans and was a bit stand-offish. While the other goats would walk up to you for a scratch, she would hang in the background with indifference.
With other creatures, big and small, she was delightfully curious in contrast!
One of my favorite memories was when she walked slowly right up to a bird, nearly nose-to-beak, and merely gazed at it. She would do the same with the resident cat on the property, although the cat was visibly suspicious as to why this large non-cat was getting so close. Sophie remained for a minute or so, until the cat darted off into the thick green grass. Somehow she seem to have a deep connection to life outside the herd that was noticeably different from the other goats.
With a soft heart, she also unfortunately was the bottom of the dominance ladder. Goats establish dominance quickly by nature, and when Sophie isolated herself a while back, we knew something was wrong. Multiple trips to the vet, two -rounds of antibiotics, and precious moments of hand-fed treats of willow branches, milk thistle, and sweet feed (grain with molasses – yum!) didn’t do the trick, unfortunately.
Bittersweet is one of my favorite words in the English language. Part bitter, part sweet, like much of life. We have been blessed with the joy and adventure of caring for our Nubian goat herd, and the passing of sweet Sophie reminds me gently of the bitter part of it all. In order to appreciate the sweet, you must endure the bitter as well.
Life is a cycle, and we must appreciate each and every member of our community (human and non-human alike!).
Thank you Sophie for allowing us to care for you these past few years. You were loved and will be missed by your entire herd.
May your day today and every day be filled with sweet moments.