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  • Writer's pictureHelena Smrcek

Goats and Such

I love animals, always had. Since I was five-years-old, my pet hen followed me everywhere, and then, years later, while I was in summer camp, she got lost, as grandma wrote. The poor chicken must have been very old by that time. I had to wait till I got married to acquire a cat. This feline loved biting our toes in the middle of the night. After reading an article of cats suffocating sleeping babies, I rehomed her when our son was born. As soon as the kids started to talk, they wanted a pet. First there was an ant, later a caterpillar, and then we graduated to a fish. It took years to convince my husband that children develop into nicer people if they grow up with a real pet. Most likely traumatized by the stealthy midnight attacks, he stood his ground—till the kids got old enough to help me wear him down.

A new cat came first. This one was a boy, picked by my four-year old daughter, and he was a sweetheart. Never bit anyone, didn’t claw the furniture, never sat atop the curtain rod, didn’t bring mice and birds into the house, simply, a perfect little fluff friend for a girl to love.

We had to be fair. Our son’s criteria was simple. It could be a girl dog, but it had to be black, and absolutely couldn’t have curly hair. Daisy arrived a year later. And then we moved to a farm with an empty barn and vast grassy areas. I do value honesty, especially in marriage, but to be fair, when one spouse goes away of a golfing trip, doesn’t the other partner deserve a little something too? Home came my new hens, ducklings, chicks, Guiney fowl keets, then little turkeys. My husband took it reasonably well. During the next trip I added a bee hive to our yard, and when he got over that, I became a little braver. The following spring I enlisted help. My Mennonite friend directed me to a dairy goat farm. As driving in the country following a GPS doesn’t always work, I got lost several times, but by the late afternoon accomplished my quest.

That evening two little kids sucked on warmed up milk bottles in our barn. Realizing that this might be a bit much to take in all at once, I took a picture of them and send it to my husband’s best friend, asking for help. Perhaps if he would break the news, buy the time they got back from Michigan, my dear husband would calm down a little. See I had no choice but to keep the goats no matter what, since the farm I ended up at wasn’t the one my friend sent me to, and I honestly had no idea how to find it again. My husband loves me, that I know, ‘cause the goats are still here, and so is he. I’m up to three now, and hopefully the girls are pregnant. I say hopefully because my goats are a little picky when it comes to males, but that is another story.

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