As the scissors began to surrender to the dense felt that was now the fleece of the gentle Angora doe we had hastily named Julie, we doggedly battled on. Why hastily? Let me explain. Julie was one of 27 of the large herd of Angora goats recently surrendered into our care reaching a crisis point in their welfare. These gentle goats were burdened by more than four years’ worth of fleece (that’s missing over 8 shearings, as Angoras need to be shorn twice a year) and countless parasites (both internal and external), and crippled by overgrown hooves.
It was then we knew Julie simply had to have a name. Taking hers from our team member who had just carried her into the stall, Julian, it was only moments before she gave birth to a sweet and somehow healthy little kid goat we dutifully named Juliet. However, the thick and heavy dreadlocked fleece was now a barrier to the baby reaching her mumma’s awaiting colostrum-filled udder.
With the baby’s cries fuelling our determination to make those darn scissors fulfil their charter, we feverishly worked. While one person held the confused and bewildered Julie, another tried to make fast work through the fleece, while yet another continued to set the stall and ensure food and water would be on hand once our task was complete. No words were needed as we all worked towards the common goal of helping two fellow beings in trouble, a mother and her baby.
It was a truly beautiful feeling, despite the difficulty of our task and the stench of urine that had invaded our nostrils and our clothes, to know our efforts would bring them to a better place. That these two were species apart from ours was no barrier to our kindness, nor should it ever be. For in our common goal of seeking to help those less fortunate than ourselves, we find the greatness of our humanity – these are the things that unite us.