Goldie – Queen of Goats
When I originally began to write this stream of consciousness essay, there was no way I could have foreseen the events that were to unfold in the next 24 hours. I had my laptop with me most of the time and for some reason I felt compelled to write whatever come into my head as the events were happening. It is only now, three months later, that I am able to go back to what I wrote, add a preface, epilogue and photos to present it for others to read.
October 18, 2006
Imagine your favorite pet: the one you loved the most of all, of any animal you have ever had bless your life. Recall the love you have, or had, for them. Often we love an animal, with his/her unconditional love, unlike any human we have ever loved; this is the love of which I am referring. Now imagine this pet as a major part of your life, influencing all aspects of how you have lived, and even make a living, for the last 11 years. Now imagine this wonderful creature being more than an animal, imagine she be like your best human friend and your foster child. If you can image these things, you may come close to understanding the feelings I have for Goldie, the most wonderful goat you could ever have the pleasure to know.
- Goldie was a great mom and loved her babies. Not only that, she was kind to other kids as well. A sight I will always hold fondly in my memory was when one day we came down to the barn and there was Goldie laying on the soft bedding under a large hay rack. Around her, nestled around her I counted 9 kids. She looked up at us with a real smile on her face as if to say "Look at all the babies I have". She was truly happy with her brood. Only three of the kids were actually her's, but they were all safe and warm gathered around the Herd Queen.
- When my friend Pete came for a visit, I let Pete have a go at milking Goldie, and she was as good as gold and extremely patient with Pete as he attempted to milk her. She never fidgeted or raise her foot; she was very understanding of his inexperience. Afterward, as she was want to do at that time of her life, she bullied him just a little. She could sense his lack of goat experience, and being 200 pounds, she was seeing what she could get away with. It's only natural, to make sure the new herd member knew his place. Later on we took a walk. The rest of the herd had moved on, and Goldie stayed back with us, as she often did. She always knew humans were the ones to stick around. You never know what we were going to do. She had been pushing Pete a bit, but as we got to some quite steep land, she moved on ahead single file. Then Pete slipped, he fell and Goldie immediately turned around and hurried back to him to see that he was ok. She was truly concerned about him, and let Pete steady himself on her. After that she didn't push him, but stayed near to make sure he was steady and ok.
- Goldie had a strong neck and could swing her head around with some force. She always knew where to swing her head and hit men right in the balls. I always though it pretty funny. We often had to warn male visitors of a possible surprise strike.
Goldie resting after kidding Goldie resting her head on her new daughter, Quan Yin, after a difficult delivery. - 2002
Yes indeed Goldie is a very special, one-of a kind goat: She's smart, loves people, loves to be milked, and loves her children. She knows her name as well as understand other words such as "no" and she comprehends what we might want her to do. Most of the time I really feel we understand each other on a level that is hard to explain. She is always easy to work with. These days, we've been using a sling to aid in moving her around. Larry on one side and me on the other, holding her up. It didn't take long for her to figure out what was what with us and the sling and she'll start "walking" as we bare her weight- she let's us know where she wants to go. We've been hoisting her up in her sling to get her weight off her feet and so that I can work on her feet. Again, she understands the drill, and puts up bravely with her treatment. Afterwords I always give her a couple corn chips as a treat, which she appreciates.
(I decided that 2004 would be Goldie's last year of having kids. She would be 9 years old which, I felt, was a good age to retire. With her not-so-great feet and tendency to have multiple kids, as well as needing occasional assistance with kidding, I decided not to put her through the strain anymore. I promised Goldie that with this last kidding, she could keep a girl to stay with her for the rest of her life. We also let her breed Ulysses, whom she has always loved. The first day of Spring, 2004, we knew she was closed to kidding so right after morning barn chores, I decided to run to town for groceries so I could be back to be with her that afternoon (when I though she would kid). I went to town and when I returned Larry was not at the house. I turned on the barn video monitor to see if Larry was at the barn and I saw him, Goldie and kids. Larry said hurry down to the barn. When I got to the barn, Larry was standing in the center isle and smiling. I looked into Goldie's stall and there she was standing there happy and proud as can be with FOUR babies! Larry told me how he was working in the barn and Goldie came over to him as if to say "it's time". She went to the kidding stall door and said "let me in, it's time to have my babies". Larry told me how the birth went fine and he had already gotten everything all cleaned up when Goldie revealed her surprise. She had already delivered triplets, and Larry figured that was it. We had never had a goat have more than 3 babies and so it never occurred to us that Goldie had another kid left in her. Larry was all cleaned up and ready to head to the house when Goldie started to push to deliver the fourth kid. It was twisted and Larry had to "go in" to straighten it out. Larry kept saying (jokingly) "Four babies? Goldie, what were you thinking?"
Goldie stands proudly with her quads, here just a couple hours old. - 2004
There is another story I have written about the female of the four, Goldie Jr , which you can read here. When Goldie's last daughter, Goldie Jr. was an adult, we came down to the barn in the morning and found that Goldie Jr. had her head stuck down low in a stall wall. She had been trying to get at some hay that had fallen from the hay rack in the stall next door and managed to get her head stuck. She was pretty pregnant a the time and was laying on the ground looking a bit uncomfortable, Now, normally this could have been a dangerous situation because a stuck goat could easily be the target of pot-shots from other goats, but Goldie Jr. was safe. Standing above her, guarding her, resting her head on Goldie J's back was Goldie. She stood all night protecting her daughter.
Goldie and Sadie Goldie resting with her daughter Sadie - 2000
I spent this afternoon writing about Goldie. She spent the afternoon in the sun. I just returned where I helped her back to her night stall. She knows the drill. She can't stand up on her own, but see us with the sling and trying to get up enough for us to get the sling under her. Together we muscle her up and she "walks" to her stall, with us supporting her weight. It's an ordeal, but we are will to do if for her. Put stand her in front of the hay rack and give her a couple of chips. We pet her and tell her I love her. I'm not sure how long this can go on. She's a great gal; she lived a great life. She will always reside in my heart and mind. I love you Goldie.
October 19, 2006
This morning when I went down to the barn we found Goldie sprawled out and moaning. She could not right herself. I got her in a comfortable position and I held her so she would not roll over. In my arms, as I wept and told her how much I loved her, she went to sleep. She told me she was so very tired and wanted just to sleep. I thought when this time came the decision would be so hard, but in reality it is not my decision at all; it is hers. I will make the necessary arrangements today. She deserves to rest and pass from this life with dignity. I already miss her so very much.
How could I have guessed, when I started writing this yesterday that today would be like this? I'm stunned and numb. 1/2 hour ago I was holding Goldie in my arms. She was resting her head on my chest and I lay my head on hers. She was comfortable and calm in my arms. I was crying. Now, she is gone and I wait in the barn for the cremation person to come take her away. Goldie was strong, and it took longer than I though it would for her to pass from this life. But now she is at peace at she can move on to the next life.
Now I'm back at the house. It's 11:45 am. It all happened so fast. We went down to the barn at 8:00 am. Less then four hours later there is a huge hole in our herd and in my heart that can never be refilled. She's really gone now. We're suppose to get the ashes back this afternoon. I have her collar draped over my neck. In the barn, when I put it there, it was still warm, but now it is getting cold. I'm just so stunned and sad. I'm sad because I don't want her not to be in my life anymore, but, it would not have been fair to her to make her stay. It was time. She was a great lady, a great Queen; the matriarch for our herd. She was the foundation of our herd and so could be considered the center of my life for the last 11 years. Thank you Goldie.
Thank you for being a part of my life and giving life to my herd.
Born: March 11, 1995 Died: October 19, 2006
Her legacy will continue on....
Goldie gave birth to 22 children in 9 years: 1996: Buffalo Gal Bruin, Burrita Bruin 1997: Blondie, Trouble 'A Bruin 1998: Sparkin Spartacus 1999: Sadie O'Grady, Yosh, Stan 2000: Nilla Puddn', Willie 2001: Niblets, Walden 2002: Joyce, Harvey, Quan Yin 2003: Martini, Rossi, Rob Roy 2004: Lane, Shane, Zane, Goldie Jr.
~Molly Nolte, October 19, 2006
I spread Goldie's ashes on a Oct. 21, 2006, two days after her passing. I could not let her physically go before that. It was an incredibly beautiful day. The light was wonderful and had a golden cast to it. I took photos in celebration of Goldie that morning which you can see here. I spread her ashes where she always liked to lay, and watch me garden and the herd graze. I took photos when we spread the ashes as well. Her ashes got all over my hands and the ashes in turn got all over my camera. I thought it was fitting. Goldie will always be with me when I take photos. I miss Goldie so very much. She was a wonderful friend, and the most extraordinary animal I will ever have the honor to have known. There will never be another like her.
Goldie's ashes dusting a Fall leaf - 10/21/2006