An Ode to Goats

I'm sitting in my living room crying.  Feeling silly on the one hand, but totally justified on the other.
You see, we got a couple of goats on April 3rd of this year.  Josie and Betty.
Suddenly within just 3 months we had our own little herd.
Life on the farm was pretty pleasant until Friday night...
We left for an evening out and came home to find all of the goats missing.
This is completely unusual because the goats are always by the barn.  If they make it through the fence, they always manage to end up back at the barn.
But, that night, no goats.  No goats anywhere. 
Betty wears a bell so we called out and listened... nothing.
The next morning we spent three hours searching around the borders of our 25 acres.
We visited bordering neighbors.  Even called the police department in case the goats
made it onto the road and into someone's yard.  What we couldn't understand is how all four of them just disappeared.  Josie always was the "alpha" goat, so we knew Betty would follow.  Of course, the kids would come right behind.  It was all so very strange.
Finally, around noon we heard goats calling from the front 5 acres.  I called, they called, and my DH hiked up the trail and found them.  But, only 3 of them.  Jazz the baby was missing.  We listened for her call, but Betty's milk sack was pretty full, so we knew it had been several hours since she'd last fed.

The goats had no markings on them.  They didn't seem especially skittish.  They came right up to my DH and he led them to me, and we led them up the driveway back to the barn.  We kept them locked in while we went out, and then we let them out in the pasture for a bit in the evening.  
They didn't move away from the house, it was business as usual.   
DH put them up in the barn for the night and that was that...
Until this morning...
DH went out to the barn to let the goats and chickens out of the barn and noticed a large pile of bear scat in the yard.  The back door of the barn was wide open, and the goats were missing.
DH went to the back and around the side and found Boots just standing there.  She came right up to him which is unusual because she's usually very timid.  But no sign of the other two goats.
DH came back into the house, and off we went again in search of the goats.  He hiked back up to the spot where he'd found them on the day prior and found Josie's body in the brush.  No sign of Betty.  No sound of her calling, and no sound of her bell.  Josie was a lot bigger, and she always stood up to a fight, so I had some hopes that maybe Betty, who was always a little wild might have made it.
We haven't found her yet, and I don't think that we will.
It's heartbreaking to be in the back yard and hear Boots calling out for her momma, or for any of the other goats.  She and Jazz always played around the garden, trying to sneak into it, and jumping off of anything that stood still.
We talked to the breeder, and she will be taking her there for safe-keeping.  I don't know if we'll ever bring her back.  This is too hard.  I love my rural life, but I don't know if I can handle having to deal with the Wild Kingdom that we're surrounded by.  Sure, it was hard to lose our chickens to the bobcat, but the chickens don't get into your heart the way a goat does.  
At least our goats.  Our spoiled, overfed, driving us crazy goats that would have become BBQ if they'd ever managed to escape and climb up on the car (not really, I would have forgiven them).  Just like I forgave them for eating my rose bushes, my jasmine, the tops of my tulips...
We gave them a great life and only asked that they munch down the briars in return.  But, they did much more than that.  They made my heart happy and some days that was all that kept me going when the shifts were long, when I was tired of the state of remodel our house is in, or when I just needed a break from the world.  There were the goats, serene, comforting, annoyingly perfect...
I'm really going to miss them... and, even though they drove my DH crazy having to wire the entire yard with electric fencing, I'm sure somewhere deep inside, he's going to miss them too... 

**Views do not reflect any physician group, hospital, or any professional institutions or associations with which I am affiliated.  


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