Ten years ago if you had told me where I would be now, I guarantee I would have laughed in your face. Back then I knew next to nothing about goats, only that I had loved them once upon a time. My husband Eric had grown up in Ag country and participated in 4H for six years while I went to the mall every other weekend with my girlfriends. My first introduction to goats was when my best friend invited me over to her house and I met Trouble. Trouble's real name was Gregory but I adored him. He was this beautiful standard sized something or other (I think he was an angora) and he was just the sweetest thing I had ever seen. He would sit there and rub on you and nibble at your fingers (and your shirt) and if you sat in the grass, Trouble would lay there beside you. Trouble was my very first love in the goat world - well and my last for a few years.
When Eric and I moved in together raising livestock had never crossed my mind. Eric teased about buying a couple cows and hogs and raising our own meat but I had never been excited about the prospect of owning livestock. Well, not that livestock. I begged him for two years to let me get a couple of goats! In April of 2019, Eric purchased a pair of ADGA registered twin doelings as a wedding gift for me.
These two sweet precious girls had me head over heels in no time flat. Owning goats had been a quiet dream of mine ever since I was 15 and spent those hours sitting in my best friends goat pen with Trouble. These two beautiful little doelings were the beginning of my dream come true! I doted on them nearly every moment I spent at home - following our breeders instructions to a T. Unfortunately these girls ended up serving as one of the hardest lessons we have ever had to learn - not every breeder is out to help you. We lost both girls shortly after bringing them home.
In the days, weeks, and months following our girls' passing, we formed new relationships with other local breeders and found a new baby to love - my sweet Loki. Loki was the one who deterred me from giving up on my dreams of goats and his breeder became my first real goat friend (and my first mentor!)
From there we added one more and then one more... and then a few more... and now we have... well, we won't talk about that. Let's just say we run a happy, healthy and small(ish) herd of ADGA registered Nigerian Dwarfs. As we have navigated an entirely new world of goat ownership, we have ventured into DHIA testing, appraisal, shows, and upgraded to an ADGA Plus membership. It's honestly just SO crazy to think of how far we have come since the loss of our girls.
The thing is... I would go back and buy those girls 100 times over again. My reasoning is the countless lessons they taught me. It is in the relationships I was able to form following their loss - simply because we shared a love of goats. It is also in the fact that I now have several knowledgeable mentors, an incredible veterinarian that I know I can rely on, and I know what type of breeder I'd like to be. Those girls led me to where we are now and for that I will always be incredibly grateful.
Farming can definitely be incredibly difficult and raising animals and proper animal husbandry can be trying at times but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I encourage all of you to try it. Do it and do it and do it again, buy the goat. Buy the cow. Buy the pig. Make sure that you learn all that you can about them, learn what their needs are, learn the best ways to care for them - find someone to guide you (and ask all the questions!).
In the end you will find that you will always have more love to share.
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