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Yesterday, January 6, 2014, we lost Blanca. She had been diagnosed with Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), and she was at a point that was, essentially, endstage CAE.

It was a very sad day, and it is a very sad time.

So I try to remind myself of Blanca’s story, and that we gave her so many more good years than she would have ever had if she had not been rescued.

But, of course, it was she who gave us good years. Blanca was the sweetest goat you could ever imagine. Which makes it all the more horrific to realize that she had been abused early in her life.

This is Blanca’s story.

Blanca was part of a herd of 17 goats that were seized for abuse and neglect by the authorities in Colorado. It had been a much larger herd – the 17 were the only survivors when the authorities arrived. They were surrounded by many more dead goats.

At the time, my son William and I were volunteering at a small farm animal rescue place in Colorado. Actually, it was more a horse boarding and lesson facility, but the owner had taken in a few rescue animals, and then became listed as a farm animal rescue. We were in the process of making the move from California to Colorado, and so William and I were commuting – a couple of weeks in Colorado, and then a couple of weeks back in California, and so on, so that we could become acclimated to Colorado, and so that William could meet some people and make some friends in Colorado before we made the full move. Whenever we were in Colorado we would go to the farm to help out.

Specifically, our job was to hang out with and socialize the two pygmy goats that the farm’s owner had taken in. She had no experience with goats, and I have always had a fondness for and affinity with goats, ever since I had been involved in goat care in high school.

Sometime in late August or early September of that year – 2007 – we were back in California, packing up the house and preparing for our move (we moved permanently to Colorado in October of 2007), when I got an email from the farm’s owner. She was in a panic. The county had just contacted her about those 17 goats they had just seized, and wondered if she could take them in. Because she knew next to nothing about goat care – and because it was just her there – she wondered when I would be back in Colorado, and if I could help with the goats. I reassured her that I would help, and immediately recruited several families from our homeschool group to help care for the goats. We ended up having a different family go, each day of the week, to help feed and muck out the goats.

In December, just before Christmas, the woman who owned the farm approached me and, because we had been so helpful, offered to let us adopt one of the goats and to keep the goat at the farm, paying only for feed and care (at the time we were living in a temporary rental place in Colorado).

I felt that William should choose which goat we would adopt, and put the question to him.

Now, of these 17 goats, 16 of them acted like typical goats. They were very curious, would come running up to anyone that came into their pen, and would crowd anyone who came in bearing food (or, really, anything remotely edible).

This was remarkable when you consider they had been abused. Even more remarkable was that two of these goats had been locked together in a dog crate their entire lives until the seizure. As they outgrew the crate, they were forced permanently to their knees, and as a result had been permanently crippled. One of them could not straighten their front legs – the other one had no forelegs. (When I asked someone familiar with these cases why anyone would do such a thing to these sweet animals, keeping them in a crate their whole lives, they responded “to make them tender.”)

But even those two poor goats loved people, and were curious and would hop up to you whenever you went into their pen.

But there was one goat..one lone goat.. who would not let anybody near her. When you went into the pen with food, she would run the other way. When the vet came to examine and vaccinate the goats, after they arrived at the farm, it took two people tackling her in order for the vet to get near her.

Nobody knew what abuse she had suffered at the hands of her previous owner. But it was clear that whatever it was, it had been horrible.

And that goat is the goat that my son said, without any hesitation, was the one that we should adopt.

That goat was Blanca.

On Christmas morning, we drove to the farm, and read a letter to Blanca, from the far side of the fence. “Dear Blanca,” we read “Our Christmas present to you is that we get to be your family. And we promise you that you will never again have to worry about being mistreated, and that you will only know love and kindness for the rest of your life.”

(To be continued.)

Blanca, January 3, 2014

One Response to “Blanca’s Story – Part 1”

  1. Tara says:

    Awwww, Blanca, even though I knew this already, it brought a tear to my eye. Missing the sweet goat I had the extreme privilege to have briefly met in happier times.

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