I said goodbye to a friend this week. I met her when she was three days old, and she was all limbs and ears with a wagging tail. I named her Lily. Lily was the sweetest, but dumbest of all of my goats. Her herd-mates recognized her airheadedness, and ranked her last. Or, they were just jealous because she was the prettiest and kept he in the bottom slot (this is what I would tell her anyway). She was always the last to eat, and the first to get her head stuck in the fence. Lily was my most compliant milker. Happy to have a few back scratches and some goat cookies, she would hop in the milk-stand without any fuss. She never fought me, or kicked the milk bucket like her bratty herd-mates.
She seemed a perfect fixture for our little farm. The boys lovingly called her "Lily-goat", fed her cookies out of their little hands, petted and brushed her. It never dawned on me that one day she would just be gone.
I went to feed a few nights back, and all the goats were waiting for me at the fence but one. I knew instantly that it was not good. My sweet girl, who I had bottle fed from birth, was laying dead under the lean-to. It seemed that she had bloated and died. We assume she ate something that she couldn't pass. I screamed "no" and sobbed and sobbed. I'm sure you could hear my wailing a mile away. I blocked the boys at the fence, so they couldn't see her body. I thought that it might be much for a three and four year old to see their pet dead. I did, however, have to explain why mama was sad. Little hands patted my shoulder while I sat and cried in the yard. Barrett summed up the whole event to my husband: "Lily died. Mama cried".
I feel incredible guilt, because I feel like I could have done something to prevent Lily's passing had I been home more in the days preceding her untimely death ( she was only three). We just took over a small business, and I have been gone practically from sun up to sun down. I hadn't done much aside from dump food and water in the goat pen. I wouldn't have noticed if she was showing signs of illness. I will never forgive myself.
I dug through my photos and all I could find were pictures of Lily as a baby. I loved that little goat, and I hope to see her one day again.