Last Friday started out like any other day of getting baby goats from a dairy. Load a number of crates in the car, take some bottles of milk, fill up the car with gas, fill me up with coffee and it's another baby goat rescue road trip. I've been there before, I know the drill. But this day, something was different. That something, was baby goat Lockette.
When I arrived I found out there were 3 cull babies available to take that day. Just how old they were was unclear at the time but all I needed to know was there were 3 so I knew 3 were coming home with me. I was told that one was the friendliest baby on the farm. When I walked into the pen where he was living with a number of other kids and does, he immediately woke up from his nap, jumped in my lap and started giving me kisses. I was in love. It was instant and overwhelming. This little guy was amazing. "So he's on the bottle then?" I asked. Much to my surprise the answer was no, he was dam raised. This guy was a big boy, he clearly was not less than a week old, the age we typically take cull babies so we can get them on the bottle and make the transition easier for them. It didn't matter, nothing mattered in that moment other than I was in love and this baby needed to be assured a safe and happy life. We located the other 2 babies, twins, and as I carried one of them out, along came the big boy, following along, happy as could be. Before I left I confirmed his age, he was 6 weeks. 6 weeks! Well, this would be interesting. How was I going to get a 6 week old baby to take a bottle on top of the twins who I had just learned were 5 days old. The memory of Murphy's epic 4 day hold out when he arrived at just 1 day old was still fresh in my mind. This was going to be a challenge.
When we arrived back at Baby Goat Central the boys ran and played for hours, experiencing grass and a big open space for the first time. The twins then curled up for a nap and Lockette began to realize his mom wasn't anywhere around. He cried for hours. Heartbreaking cries. I would go in and sit with him in the pasture, trying to provide him any comfort that I could. It helped, I was a distraction but I wasn't his mom. At least not yet. Usually, because the kids are less than a few days old when they arrive, they transition to their new reality pretty easily. It was clear it was going to be a little different for Lockette. I kept telling myself he was better off with us then he was anywhere else and that I was doing everything I could to help him make this transition but his cries broke my heart. I tried giving him a bottle a few times and although he didn't fight it, he had no idea what I was trying to offer him. He preferred to chew on my hair, my sweatshirt, my boots. When it was dinner time I steeled myself for a battle but bless their little hearts, the twins went right on the bottle, first try. Lockette was interested in what was going on, enough so that I thought I had a window. Sure enough, he took right to the bottle. I was in disbelief! Finally he got the comfort he needed and settled in for the night.
A week later he has handled the transition far better than I could have ever imagined. He has become my shadow, he goes everywhere I go. As adorable and entertaining as he is, he is exhausting. He's like a busy, trouble making toddler. He is into everything. And I mean everything. I turn my back on him for a minute and it looks like there was a tornado in his wake. There are holes in my shirts and spots of hair half an inch shorter because this kid loves to chew and nibble on everything, all the time. He races around the property at lightening speed and loves to go into the big pasture and challenge Nicky and Nitro to a battle. I have found myself sitting outside in the pasture nightly, catching up on phone calls and emails, while he explores and plays long after everyone else has gone to bed.
Lockette is the essence of why I choose to give so much of my life to this work that we do. Despite there being 17 other baby goats currently residing at BGC, Lockette brings a new energy and life to the farm. One that would not have been possible if his life had not been saved that day. He makes every day a little longer, a little more tiring but a lot more entertaining and a whole lot brighter.