Saturday, August 06, 2011

Why do I always pick shy, timid, half wild things that other people would rather not put the time and effort into?

Seriously: whether it's goats or dogs or cats or humans, I don't have a lot of use for something that loves and befriends everyone indiscriminately. Extreme friendliness and extroversion is a trait prized by a lot of people, but for some reason, it turns me off.

Sprite: one of my favorite does, she'd been abused, starved, and bred so young that it stunted her growth. She had a ugly face and the whites of her eyes showed and she was all but impossible to handle when I bought her. She also had a perfect udder and a stunning pedigree....but in all honesty, there were others who were similarly priced who might have been a better value with less hassle. Sprite was a problem child in spades. The seller was amazed that I was able to walk her to my vehicle without some kind of disastrous escapade- she was that wild and fearful. She couldn't be handled, milking was a complete nightmare and it was clear that something really bad had messed her up. She was probably predisposed to being nervous anyway, but....Sprite was very, very intelligent. Most goats don't ever forget abuse or aversive experiences and the smarter they are, the harder it is for them. Dumb animals just forget. Seriously, they do.

I had to invest a lot of time just to get her to come into the milking parlor, and she always, until the day she died, kicked like a bitch from hell when she was on the milking stand. I don't know what happened to her, but it must have happened on a milking stand. :-( Once she was finally tamed (to me anyway), she became my favorite doe. When I was blue or sad, she knew. She'd crook her head over my shoulder and give me a goat hug, or just lean into me as I cried on her furry neck. I was devoted to her...somehow her trust meant so much more to me than that of the does who'd been hand fed from birth. She was five times more trouble than any of the others and a lot less pretty but....I don't know. Nobody else could take her place.

I put so much time and effort into taming wild eyed goats....and in all honesty, I never felt that a second of that time was wasted. It always makes me sad to hear that someone has put an animal down because it had issues that they didn't want to work with, that they didn't even try to work with.

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