“So come with me, where dreams are born and time is never planned. Just think of happy things and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Neverland!” –Peter Pan
Never say never, it’s a lesson we’re taught early in life and it is one that could not ring more true than in rescue work. I had so many “nevers” in my head when we opened Baby Goat Central. Like many things, living rescue work 24/7 is something you simply cannot truly understand until you do it. One of my nevers, I would never have baby goats in my house.
I am a bit on the type A side, I like everything clean, organized and in its place. Farm life and type A personalities don’t go hand in hand, something I learned quickly and have adjusted to a little more slowly. A week after Nicky and Nitro moved in with me at BGC we rescued two newborn Oberhaslis and with temps below freezing overnight, I got them home and immediately asked Barbara, “they have to sleep in the house don’t they?” The answer was of course, yes.
They lived in the kitchen overnight for a few weeks and once or twice slipped through the baby gate for some cuddle time on the couch. Last February, a few more spent a few nights in the kitchen and newborn baby Lamancha, Gobi, was curled up on my lap while I watched TV and had a glass of wine after the first big dairy rescue of last season. I thought that would be the extent of it. But again, never say never. In December, baby Charlie Brown moved in, full time house baby. A few weeks later, we had a friend for him, baby Rigby. Temperatures were still too cold for babies in the barn at night. Last week, baby Lamanchas Bowie & Bennett arrived and well, it’s still cold. Very cold. So from about 6pm-7am every day, I have 4 baby goats living in my house.
Charlie was an ideal house baby, he was quiet, calm and loved nothing more than to sleep curled up in my lap for hours. He slept in a playpen in my bedroom at night and never made a peep. Around the time Rigby arrived Charlie was more active and getting into more around the house. Everything had to be baby goat proofed. Having a baby goat in your house is a mix between the baby goat and a toddler and a puppy. They find every single little thing they can and in their mouth it goes. When Charlie learned to jump on my furniture, it was a game changer. My mom asked why I didn’t keep him confined to the kitchen or in a pen. Well, you answer that when you’re sitting there with an adorable little baby goat face staring at you and crying because they just want to be where you are. Charlie had the run of the house.
When Rigby arrived I quickly started transitioning them to spending the daytime in the barn with time in their day pasture and Rigby loved it, Charlie, not so much. It’s been an adjustment for him but he is finally embracing it. At night I couldn’t all of a sudden confine Charlie who had spent weeks going where he pleased when I was home so Charlie and Rigby had run of the house. Night one Rigby learned how to climb on all the furniture. He was such a big baby that even the biggest diaper size barely fit. Lessons in preventing and managing diaper malfunctions were learned quickly.
When the Lamanchas arrived last week we luckily had received all our goodies from the baby goat shower and we had these great soft indoor play pens. The baby Lamanchas were all set up in there but it didn’t take but more than a few hours before I let them out to play and my house had 4 crazy energetic, active and adorable babies running about.
It’s not all fun and games, it’s a lot of cleaning and diaper changes and laundry. The evenings of hours curled up on the couch together are over, they are 4 busy babies who after turning the house upside down and mouthing everything they can, love to snuggle with each other, just as it should be. I will admit there are times I have just wanted to scream and then just simply cry. My house is often a disaster, I can’t do anything without baby goats underfoot and it sometimes just feels impossible to keep up on it all. But these sweet little babies, they can always ground you. They are the reminders of why we do all of this, why we let them take over our lives. They are safe with us. They are loved and cherished. They get a chance at a life that so many baby goats don’t get. And if living in the house some until our weather finally warms up a bit, then so be it.
It’s been over a month since Charlie first moved in and tonight, for the first time, I felt somewhat normal. After the volunteers left today all was in order outside and the babies were spending a rainy afternoon in their stalls in the barn so I went in the house, cranked up the music, lit some amazing candles made by lovely neighbor Devon and cleaned and baked and cooked and felt a little more like myself than I have in a while. The babies came in, had their bottles and went to bed, it was blissful. 4 baby goats happy and sleeping warm and peaceful while I made dinner.
The peace and quiet was short lived as all four were up and about an hour later and will likely be awake and busy until after all the lights are turned out for the night. This, this is my new normal. Smack in the middle of Neverland. I keep saying I can’t wait until they’re moved out and it will be nice to put my house back together but I will really miss them. It’s true, there is a magic that lives in Never Neverland.