Frostie The Snow Goat
15th May 2014
They cry like little babies, because they are little babies! Meet Frostie the Snow Goat. At just a few days old, Frostie’s pitiful little bleats pierce the ears and the heart just like the cries of a human baby. And just like human babies, baby goats otherwise known as kids, long for the company of their mother, they yearn for her sweet life-sustaining milk and they have the strongest desire to be safe and warm. Yet poor little Frostie had none of these things. What he did have was one of the worst cases of lice infestation we have seen, coupled with severe dehydration Yet these were not the worst of his woes as they were all issues that could be readily addressed. It is was Frostie’s debilitating and life threatening condition known as joint navel ill that sent our hearts racing.
Joint navel ill is a disease that is seen in very young calves and kid goats and results from an infection entering the body via the umbilical cord soon after birth. The causes are often insufficient or poor quality colostrum (a mother’s immune building first milk) or a dirty and unhygienic environment. And in Frostie’s case, the bacteria had spread via his bloodstream and settled in the joints of his hind limbs. This saw his joints become swollen, hot and painful, so much so that Frostie was unable to use them. Necessity became the mother of invention as we worked to save and enrich the life of our newest little rescue. Watch what happened next….
Aint No Mountain High Enough
Over the past 24 hours I have been consumed by a numbness, a numbness that has both protected and prevented me. Whilst is has protected me from a tsunami of pain, it has prevented me from writing this piece and only now in its subsiding can I type the words Frostie the Snowgoat has passed.
In the early hours of Monday morning the little champ told me he was not well as a rapidly expanding stomach screamed bloat. With Frostie’s attending vet alerted and the administering of medications and massage commenced, the race was on to get my little buddy to her care and expertise in time. But alas this was not to be. As the little guy made his last gasps of breath he looked into my tear filled eyes as I begged him to stay, I told him I loved him and would do so forever more. It was not until I knew his spirit had passed that I would scream ‘why’ at the top of my lungs and sob inconsolably into his warm, sweet smelling white fur.
Whilst it would be several more hours before the clinical answer as to why Frostie passed from this world, a lifetime of my existence will never provide me a satisfactory answer of why life is oft times so unfair to such innocent creatures. The autopsy revealed that Frostie’s spinal column was riddled with abscesses that refused to acknowledge the strength and determination of the arsenal of antibiotics and medications that had been sent in to do battle. One abscess was so large it was pressing on and compromising his little rumen, preventing it from doing all the good things rumens do to keep little goats alive. Taking some comfort in the fact that this had caused Frostie no pain until those final moments gave me little consolation as the wee chap seemed to be gambolling along in leaps and bounds.
That Frostie was a sickly little kid goat, was something that we knew from the very day he came into our world. Unable to stand, let alone walk, severely dehydrated and riddled with lice, Frostie’s lot was not good, but no one told him that. He wanted to live, and that was just what we promised him we would help him do. Right from day one he began to rally all the while displaying the happiest of dispositions and he fell head over hooves in love with me as I did him, this fact plainly obvious to anyone who saw us together. He loved to nibble on my hair and turn it into goaty saliva encrusted dreadlocks. He would cry when he couldn’t see me and light up like the brightest star when he did. He had a delightful and infectious sense of joie de vivre as he scooted about at first in his little mobility cart with that ‘hey look at me’ smile, then his brave ‘hey look no wheels’ tenacious first steps skipped hearts into flutter mode across the globe.
One common question I was often asked in relation to Frostie was ‘why?’, why bother going to all the great lengths, efforts and cost to save one sickly little abandoned kid goat. I saw Frostie not as a ‘farm animal’ but as a creature in trouble, a creature in desperate need of kindness, compassion and help. In a nation that spends billions of dollars each year on the animals that share our hearts and homes one would not think twice about doing everything in their power to save their cat or dog. That fact that Frostie looked a little different was no justification to me for denying him the chance at life he so richly deserved – we would do no less if he were a puppy or kitten.
Frostie’s legacy will long be a reminder that animals will always stand as one of humanity’s greatest tests. When we see a creature suffering or learn of their plight we can seek to protect them, ease their pain or torment or we can choose to look the other way and ignore them. What we choose to do will not only write our epitaph but will shape the world we live in.
For such a tiny little goat, who only danced on this earth for a short while his reach has been enormous and he may just well be the harbinger of a brave new and just world for animals as people come to see them for who they are not what can be produced from them. Whilst a part of me feels cheated that Frostie’s was not a long life it was certainly one filled with more happiness and joy, love and friendships, kindness and compassion than many animals receive in a lifetime and in doing so he did surmount insurmountable odds. Frostie’s lesson to me has been this, to seize every minute of the your life as the most precious gift there is, use it wisely and lovingly for you never know if it is your last.
I know that the passage of time will diminish the pain in my heart I am feeling right now but nothing will ever diminish my beautiful happy memories of a joyful, cheeky and chatty little white goat who the world came to know and love as Frostie the Snowgoat.
One journalist asked me what I wanted from the telling of Frostie’s story and I remember thinking about that for a second and then I said ‘I want for people to be kind to animals’ and I am sure Frostie would want that too.