When my husband and I moved back to Southern California this past fall, we rented a house that came complete with its own goat. We knew exactly nothing about goats, but we were excited to have a chance to learn firsthand.
Willie isn't a young goat. He was rescued by our homeowner when he was just a baby (someone had gotten him for a pet, but had to give him up when he got too big for their apartment -- go figure!). He is now about 11 years old. Since this is the only home Willie has ever known, the owner asked if we would mind if the goat lived out the remainder of his life here with us. And, of course, we didn't mind.
Willie is very curious. Our dogs didn't quite know what to make of him, having never seen a goat before. Two of them finally decided he isn't anything special after all and leave him alone. But Storm sees things differently. He just won't stop barking at Willie with an ''I don't know what you are but I don't like you'' bark.
Willie has his own fenced-off area -- we don't let the dogs actually get in there with him, but they can see each other through the chain link fence. As part of our morning routine, the dogs and I all go out to the barn to feed Willie. The dogs love to run and play in the big open area behind the barn. Willie can't wait to see the dogs each time we show up. He runs to the edge of the fence to greet them and check them out. Sunny and Sky give him a couple of sniffs and tail wags before running off to play. Storm, on the other hand, starts his manic barking. No amount of scolding will make him stop. Willie puts up with it for a few minutes and then runs back into the barn to escape the noise. Storm stops barking once Willie is out of sight and will finally go play with his brothers. In a few minutes, Willie is back, looking to make friends again. From across the yard, Storm will see him and rush back to the fence and the barking starts all over again.
Day after day, this routine plays out. Every day Willie looks to make friends with Storm and every day is rebuffed. But he never stops trying. I think he figures that eventually one day, Storm will be his friend. I love that. I love the positive, never-give-up attitude Willie displays each time we come outside. I wish I could be more like that myself -- to be able to start each day fresh and unencumbered by past failures. This summer I am going to make a special effort to start my days this way and see how long it takes for life to beat it right out of me. Just kidding... This summer I am going to start my days the ''Willie way'' and see what happens. Many days might not end the way I hoped they would, but at least I know that each day will start on a positive note. I'll let you know how it turns out.