God knew what he was doing when He brought my husband into my life. I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with someone who doesn’t love animals and nature as much as I do. Luckily, my husband grew up on a ranch in Montana and has been around dogs, horses and livestock his whole life. I genuinely believe that people are guided into our lives for a reason, and not just by chance. The first time I looked into my husband’s eyes, the strangest feeling came over me. It was as if I recognized him, like he was a part of my family, even though we had never met before. So, it really was love at first sight and we soon discovered we were very compatible in many ways, not least of all our love of animals.
As our life together progressed, it was quite natural for me to give him a burro for his first father’s day gift, and just as natural for him to give me a goat for my birthday. Our girls grew up with dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, ferrets and even a racoon or two. We rescued this litter from a friend’s attic after the mother was found dead.
Our home life was great and there was never a dull moment around our house, but each year we couldn’t wait for June to finally arrive. This meant the girls were out of school for the summer and we were headed to the Texas Hill Country for another camping adventure. Of course, this also meant making arrangements for our animals to be cared for in our absence. One year, all plans had been made, my parents were going to take care of the animals. Our camping gear was packed and we were planning to head out right after the Memorial Day weekend.
One morning, the week prior to leaving for our trip, we woke up to discover that one of our goats had given birth to a healthy billy kid. Sadly, she was struggling to give birth to a second kid and she desperately needed help. We immediately took her to our Veterinarian, but unfortunately she and the second kid did not survive and we were left with the orphan kid to care for. We headed to the store, purchased a bottle and some goat’s milk, and proudly became the new parents of a baby billy goat.
Instantly the girls fell in love with him and dubbed him Gruff, as in the fairly tale the Three Billy Goats Gruff. We soon found out that much like a newborn infant, caring for a baby goat is a round-the-clock job with feedings every 3 to 4 hours. My parents were glad to feed and water our other animals every day, but bottle feeding a newborn goat every couple of hours was a little bit much to ask of them. Not willing to give up our greatly anticipated vacation, we decided to take Gruff camping with us. We bought some powdered kid milk replacer, several gallons of bottled water, made a snug little bed for him in one of our large dog travel kennels and we were off.
He was actually a lot easier to travel with than any of our dogs ever were. He followed on our heels everywhere we hiked and was always the center of attention with our campsite neighbors. It turned out to be a great vacation and wonderful memories were made for all of us.
We returned home and Gruff settled in as the newest member of our family. Being raised in the house and yard rather than the pasture, he was totally unaware of the fact that he was a goat, and therefore considered himself to be a dog. He would run down to the front gate with the dogs to greet our visitors. And like most members of this family, he soon got his very own nickname. Maybe because he was the closest thing to a little brother my girls would ever have, they started calling him “Bubby”. He was known as Bubby for the rest of his life and brought us so much love and joy. I can still her the girls calling his name, BUBBY! Then you would hear a high-pitched mehhhh! And Bubby would come running to them.
He lived to have many great years as our beloved pet. When he closed his eyes for the final time last year, I cried like a baby. We are so blessed that you were a part of our lives. Until we meet again on the Rainbow Bridge, I will continue to love and miss you, my sweet Bubby.
May 1998 – October 2011
The Rainbow Bridge http://petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm