My sweet goat, Gabriela, passed away some time in the wee hours of the morning. I woke up later than normal, having gone to bed later than normal last night. I had let my dogs out before bed, around 1:30 a.m. Gabriela was calling to me, as she usually did when she heard me at the door. I said, “Time for sleeping, Gabriela, I’ll see you in the morning.” I felt bad that I had to leave her out there, but what could I do?
These past couple weeks have been horrendous, weather wise. Endless blowing snow and bone chilling temps. Last night wasn’t so cold, but the wind had picked up again, placing yet another layer of snow onto the already five-foot high drifts that cover our yard.
Gabriela found a spot a little out of the wind, between the gate to her yard and the garage. That’s where I discovered her. She must have become tired and laid down there. I’m guessing she froze to death, since yesterday she appeared fine.
Maybe she was run down due to a greater difficulty getting to the hay bales to feed, though I did carve a path through the snow drifts for the goats, and supplemented their diet with grain.
For whatever reason, she did not stay with her sister, Dagmar, in their shelter where there was a heat lamp and warm hay bales. Dagmar, the dominant one, and must have claimed the choice spot on the bales.
It was late December, 2002 when a co-worker had given me the two goats They were very young, only a few months old. I had chosen the names, Gabriela and Dagmar after twin sisters I had known in grade school. Dagmar was the louder, more confident sister, while Gabriela was soft spoken and less sure of herself. The names fit well.
Gabriela had been badly injured by a big dog, who made a game out of chasing goats. The deal was that this woman would give me a free goat under the condition that I take the injured one as well. “No problem,” I said.
Gabriela’s injury was badly infected and required daily injections of Penicillin. It took quite a long time to clear that up–twice as long as it should have, but eventually she was fine. However, Dagmar, by default, became the stronger goat and this sealed the pecking order.
Even so, life was pretty good for the both of them. For years, they kept my big Boar goat, Odin, company until he died of illness and age a couple winters ago. They have enjoyed the run of the yard since we moved here 2-1/2 years ago, regularly feeding on my tomatoes and peas in the summer, and bird seeds in the winter.
. . . I can see the gate from my kitchen window. I look outside every once in a while to see if Gabriela is still sleeping there. She hasn’t moved at all . . .
Rest in peace, my dear, sweet Gabriela. I am sorry that you passed this way. I wish you a happy, sunshine-filled afterlife, where there is succulent grass, rows and rows of wild rose bushes, and the occasional patch of Uva Ursi. I hope you will find your new herd, or a soul mate to keep you from feeling alone. I love you, Gabriela.