For the year or so before I was diagnosed (Jan. 2016) I was trying hard to convince Dan that we needed alpacas in our family. I was sure they would be a great retirement hobby for me. (I was still a few years from retirement.) I think it would have happened had cancer not burst that, and every other dream bubble at that time.
But then, thanks to a diagnosis of ROS1 and crizotinib, I began to live a bit. “Okay”, I thought. “I’m not going to be able to work until retirement and we don’t know how long this medication will keep it’s foot on the cancer, so no alpacas (too much work, especially if we have to rely on others to help), but maybe…” And so, two tiny sweet Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dottie and Matilda, joined our family the spring of 2016.
That spring and summer were glorious. The two little goats were such a delight. They provided such entertainment to us, to the dozens of school children who came for a Fun Day at camp, and to my Camp Gramma campers (my grandchildren). Anyone who saw the two little goats (Dottie with her black spots and Matilda a beautiful reddish brown) that summer can still see them side hopping down the hill in the field with children running beside. An image that fills my heart with joy.
Last week our sweet naughty Dottie died in her sleep. She was only seven. She had been ill on and off, and treated by the vet and us following the vet’s directions for a while, but always felt better. But this time despite the vet’s and our best efforts whatever was wrong was simply too much for her body to overcome.
I could go on and on about how loving, friendly, and fun our sweet Dottie was. She loved us so very much. She would sit in our lap very contently when young. She especially enjoyed shoelaces, hood strings, and coat zippers. Dottie was always the first to want to help mend the fence, trying to observe closely and give advice. She was the most charming of goats, a delight to have in our family.
When we first got the two little goats I kind of assumed that they would outlive me, but I knew Dan would love and care for them. (We’ve since added two fainting goats, Buttercup and Daisy.) One should never assume anything in life. I’ve learned that well in the past seven years. Last summer I felt sad that while I could do chores, I couldn’t spend much time with the goats because of high humidity and breathing difficulties. I hope this summer will be different.
So now there are three. Matilda seems to just be carrying on. She has seemed to be much more attentive to me when I’m at the barn. This morning she gave me nose kisses like our Daisy does. Buttercup and Daisy seem unaffected. I guess goats are resilient, much like human kids often are.
So please close your eyes and imagine a little white goat with black spots happily side hopping across the Rainbow Bridge. That will be our sweet, precious naughty Dottie.