I often get emails asking if I can take an animal or a bird who is losing a home, whose person is moving or died, who was thought to be a hen but turned out to be a rooster and is in a residential area where neighbors are complaining—those are the most common reasons for the emails. Most I don’t take because they are not dire situations, the people who write care and will likely keep trying until they find a home, and I want to reserve what room I have for those in great need.
I said yes almost immediately to the email I got in early May. It involved a baby goat, still with umbilical cord, being kept in appalling conditions—a dirt backyard, junk everywhere, little children carrying the goat around with no supervision, one other baby goat dragging a broken leg, this one unable to walk, possibly broken front legs, lying on the ground with no shelter or shade, who knows what the baby was being fed, no mother goat, dogs on chains. Truly, great need. I told the good Samaritan who wanted to get the goat out of there to get permission and do so right away. She did and the goat spent the night at her house. I had her meet me at the veterinarian the next day to get the baby immediate care and make sure he had nothing contagious that could spread to my sanctuary flock and herd. (Note: she tried to get the other baby goat too, but the people wouldn’t give him up.)
What a precious little being arrived. He looked up at me with big eyes and, of course, my heart melted. Actually, it melted just to hear his story. It’s amazing to me how trusting animals can still be after all that humans put them through.
Both shoulders were severely swollen and X rays showed that the left one had a break and there was bad inflammation/infection in the growth plate in each shoulder, perhaps caused by injury. No wonder the little one could not walk. There was a possibility of a contagious virus so I had to keep the baby separate from the other animals until the result from that blood work came back. I was going to have to keep the baby in the house anyway since he could not walk.
On the way home, I asked him what he would like his name to be and he told me he wanted a name that means strength. I found him the perfect one: Caerwyn, a Welsh name that means “white fortress.” He is all white but for his brown head and a bit of brown, shaped like a little heart, on his back. And one of his new brothers on the sanctuary is Baerwyn, who also had a growth plate infection when he was a baby, now walking with only a very slight limp. I’m hoping Baerwyn can be an inspiration for Caerwyn in his healing.
Thanks to a goat-experienced person at the feed store, I got an immediate connection for fresh goat milk, which would give this likely nutrition-deprived baby an extra boost toward health. Many bottles later, Caerwyn is doing well, but he still can’t walk. I have to remember that it took Baerwyn a long time to be able to put weight on his injured limb and that was back leg (easier to favor) and a knee issue rather than a shoulder. This is much more serious.
Fortunately, the test for the virus came out negative, so I’ve been able to introduce everybody and give Caerwyn time in the garden sun. He loves it there. The first to visit him were the donkeys Lily Rose and her daughter, Jasmine Pearl (just a year old). Beau the sheep and Joyful the goat (same breed so they look alike) came next.
Actually, Daisy the guardian dog was first. I was able to trust her and her brother, Merlion, with the baby from the beginning. They approached him gently. After a few days, Daisy took on the mother role, licking Caerwyn all over and lying near him to keep watch.
The first four nights Caerwyn screamed many times in the night. I realized he was having nightmares. For any prey animal, like a goat or sheep, to be down is to be dead, so the wiring is such that being down causes extreme distress. I don’t know how long he was lying in that backyard, but it must have been terrifying. The nightmares gradually subsided and, now knowing he is protected, he can sleep peacefully on his side.
This is a labor-intensive rehabilitation. I am focusing on the image of Caerwyn walking. He is such a sweet soul and I am looking forward on his behalf to the day he can run and jump as baby goats are meant to do.
Thank you to the good Samaritan for rescuing him and bringing him to his new forever home on the Animal Messenger Sanctuary.