I think all of us who are new to owning farm animals learn on the job. We all get our first animals with a mixture of fear and hope, and try to do the best we can while learning as fast as possible how not to kill them. Most of us are lucky and the animals don't die. Eventually we become farmers.
Penny and Coco didn't have the luxury of being with me as I fumbled through our first years together. The one deadly thing happened that most owners dread and only some owners prepare for. I could have done more. I could have gone to the neighbor as soon as I got the goats and asked her to keep her dogs confined. I could have strange-dog proofed the fencing. I could have had a livestock guardian. But I didn't. I have 2 dogs and I thought it was sufficient. I didn't do great, but I did OK. In some worlds it would have been enough. Not in this one.
In one instant I went from being a goat owner to being a person who doesn't own goats. My to-do list still has, "build milking stand" on it. It still has, "finish the website for goodearthgoats," something I was working on in my free time. My camera still has goat pictures on it. I feel like I'm learning a new language or a new skill. My mouth feels strange making words. I walk into a room on the way to doing something and have to stop and think about whether I still need to do what I walked into the room to do. Or has the goats' death made whatever task I was going to do irrelevant. I have to re-learn what it's like to not own the goats. This whole thing has been one big push on the "rewind" button, except now there's bad blood with my neighbor.
It's been really helpful to read that others of you have had similar things happen. I'm not beating myself up (too much). I wasn't a perfect mommy, and it's obvious that I wasn't even a good enough mommy. I made a beginners mistake by leaving that one weakness open and the goats paid with their lives. I won't make that mistake again. I'm sorry Penny and Coco.
A Short Trip to the Adirondacks
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