• Jade

The Lineup at the Gate to the 'Funny Farm'

Which parts of your week stood out? Ones where you worried? I’ll bet it was when you felt good while helping, the doing something for someone or even a different kind of someone, that improved their day.

...and it wouldn'’t matter in the least whether who you are helping is human, or is a group of sheep, goats, and vagabond cats and dogs. They may take different routes finding their way to you, but always, it’s because of your looking, and wanting to help that leads you to find them just as often.

M calls it the ‘funny farm.’ The place in the country with its pond, and work shop that had never originally been outfitted to accommodate sheep and goats, but whose space was rebuilt by her caring father-in-law and besotted husband for the three personality-heavy ‘rescue’ goats who needed a someone like her.

And then there were the ‘science’ sheep.

Four ‘lady’ sheep have been with the couple since the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph released them nine years ago from their duties as minor practice animals for the students.

One day, six years ago, a tabby just sauntered into the yard. “When I looked a bit farther at something else moving in the pasture, I thought I was seeing double.” Muca and Muci, possibly a mother and son, joined the ‘funny farm’. A number of people’s pet-drop-offs seem to be a wayward constant. Several more felines followed over the course of the next year and a very lucky pup found his way to their door around this time; he’s now a ridiculously happy dog whose best friend is yes, another rescue.

Buddy bounding through the snow.

The last of the three goats, Joplin, Bowie, and Cohen, passed away four years ago, unaware, as goats generally are, of how enriched their goat lives had been under the loving care of M and her husband, living as part of their tribe of misfits.

Not long after, because she’s a caregiver (and statistics show it is mostly women who act as animal innkeepers) she was approached by a friend who runs a farm animal sanctuary and haven, who was trying to place three Saanen milking goats after the farm’s owner passed away.

Rachel, and her twins, Pebbles and Bambam, became the three new resident goats.

A photo of Rachel and her 'kids,' Pebbles and Bambam, so happy to be together, shown here on the first day they arrived at the farm. Her working days done, Rachel's 'ear tag' was the first thing retired.

Deaths on the farm, predictable or not, represent, in all instances a life that did not begin there with them. In some cases, quite a bit of their lives were not spent there. Through happenstance, they became companions for each other, all of them.

It has been the care given from the time they arrive to the end of each of their animal companion's lives that makes M and her husband’s farm a haven.

We humans acknowledge more fully now the emotional intelligence of non-human animals; a bird mourning their dead mate, a little grey cat showing tenderness toward their human, and the obvious closeness between a family of, say, goats.

Pebbles and Bambam looked for their mom that night, M was right there beside them while they were certainly missing her.

Framed 5X7" portraits on a gold 'Metallic' background with 'Papier Colle' names.

I felt privileged to create the grouping of portraits, especially honouring the memories of mom goat, Rachel and mom cat, Muca, who is shown here, fearless and regal as ever, nose to nose with Bambam.

Do you know someone that should be highlighted for their compassion and innovation toward animals?

Contact me, I'd love to know about it.


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