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One snowy Christmas, I was adopted by an orphaned angora goat. Hunkered down on my lap, Goatee nursed from a large rubber nipple attached to a Perrier bottle filled with replacement milk. We bonded right away; he became a housemate.
He loved tap-dancing up the staircase— “click clickity clack”— and working jigsaw puzzles. Well, in the above photo, I think they were more of an hors d’oeuvre.
In spring, he grazed the lawns and adjacent fields. When I appeared at the gate, he sang, “Maaaaaaaa!”
Goatee trotted over in record time, then stuffed his cute, pink, funnel-nose into my grain-filled jacket pocket. He’d fix me with an alien-eyed stare while working the corn, oats and barley in his jaws.
Goatee continued to thrive for thirteen years—a long life for a goat. He lives on, not only in memory and photographs, but in the extravagantly soft and warm voluminous shawls that Robert wove from Goatee’s shorn fleece.
Animals infuse our days with innocent joy.
They are medicine for our aching hearts and balms for life’s wounds.