Autumn Affection: Celebrating the Golden Years of Rescue Animals

Autumn Affection: Celebrating the Golden Years of Rescue Animals

The Golden Girls of PSGR

As I look around the pastures of Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR), I’m struck by the incredible diversity of the herd. From the rambunctious kid goats bounding through the fields, to the majestic full-grown does and wethers grazing peacefully, each animal has a unique story and personality. But my heart truly belongs to a special group I like to call the “Golden Girls” – the mature does who have found sanctuary at the rescue after lives filled with hardship.

These are the girls who have seen it all. The Saanen doe Athena, with her quiet, regal demeanor, was likely a dairy goat until she was deemed too old or unproductive. The excitable and endearing Chiquita, a Saanen as well, was emaciated and could hardly walk when she arrived, her neglected hooves a testament to a difficult past. And then there’s the sassy Margarite, a stunning Alpine who loves nothing more than using any passerby as a personal scratching post.

Each of these “Golden Girls” has a story, and it’s clear they’ve been through more than their fair share of challenges. But at PSGR, they’ve found a place to call home, surrounded by love, care, and the promise of comfort in their golden years.

A Sisterhood of Survivors

As I watch the Golden Girls graze and rest together, I can’t help but imagine them as a group of retired ladies sharing stories and wisdom over tea. Saffron, the wise and gentle Saanen doe, might regale the others with tales of her years as a dairy producer. Chiquita, the excitable and charismatic Saanen, would surely interject with her own eccentric observations. Quiet Athena would listen intently, offering a voice of reason when needed, while Margarite, the queen bee of the herd, would occasionally butt in with her strong opinions.

And then there’s Faye, our beloved Nubian matriarch who has the run of the farm. Sometimes she’ll curl up in the warm straw-filled areas, relishing in the comfort of a soft bed. Other times, she’ll wander the pastures, picking the best produce from my weekly deliveries. Faye is the embodiment of a goat who has truly earned her golden years.

These Golden Girls have all been through so much, but against the odds, they’ve found solace and joy in the sanctuary of PSGR. Their sisterhood, forged through shared experiences of hardship and survival, is a testament to the resilience of the caprine spirit.

Naming the Unsung Heroes

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work at PSGR is the process of naming the new arrivals. Each goat, sheep, or other rescue animal that comes through our gates is an individual, deserving of a unique identity that celebrates who they are.

For some, the names come easily – like when we rescued a small, spunky LaMancha doe and instantly knew she was a Katniss, a fighter and survivor. Others, like the sweet Nubian doe Daphne, required a bit more thought. Her previous name, Greta, was associated with a life that was now in the past, one where someone had cared enough to give her a name tag. But Daphne was a new beginning, a chance to shed the burdens of her former existence.

And then there are the names that just seem to click, like Gizmo – the little Oberhasli kid with the adorable, pointy ears. Or Nicky and Nitro, the rambunctious twin LaManchas who epitomize the energy and mischief of baby goats. Even the Saanen kids, often difficult to tell apart in the early days, became known by their unique identifying marks, like “Nail Polish on Back Right Foot” or “Nail Polish on Front Left Foot.”

Occasionally, we’re able to honor the memory of past residents, like when we named one of the Saanen kids Levi, after a long-time wether who had passed away. And there are the special cases, like my own boys, Nicky and Nitro, who I couldn’t imagine with any other names.

Regardless of how the names come about, the act of christening each rescue animal is an important one. It’s a way of acknowledging their individuality, of saying, “You matter. You are seen.” And for those who have been discarded or forgotten, it’s a powerful declaration that their lives have value, and that they deserve the chance to thrive.

A Dream, a Home, and a Calling

As I pack up my city apartment, I can’t help but reflect on how much my life has changed in just a few short years. Five years ago, the idea of moving back to a farm in the country would have seemed impossible. But today, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

You see, my journey with PSGR began somewhat unexpectedly. I had been volunteering at the rescue for a couple of years, submerging myself in the work and learning about the plight of farm animals. But it wasn’t until recently that I truly discovered my calling – to help save these incredible creatures and provide them with the love and care they deserve.

It started with the arrival of four LaManche ladies, one of whom, Elsie, was in milk. As I watched Barbara expertly milk her out, I felt a twinge of curiosity. Could I do that? That night, I tentatively reached under Elsie, and to my delight (and no small amount of surprise), the milk began to flow. It was a milestone moment, one that marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Suddenly, I found myself getting up at the crack of dawn to check on the herd, spending my evenings in the barn, and worrying about the goats during the workday. The exhaustion and uncertainty were real, but the joy and fulfillment I felt far outweighed any of the challenges. This was what I had signed up for, and I embraced it wholeheartedly.

And now, as PSGR expands to a second location just a few miles from the main farm, I’m embarking on an even greater adventure. The new property, with its 25 acres of lush pastures, a big barn, and a charming little house, will be my new home. After over a decade of city living, I’m finally returning to my roots, to a place where the pace is a little slower and the company a little more four-legged.

It’s a dream come true, but it’s also so much more than that. This move represents the realization of PSGR’s vision – to continue growing, to save more lives, and to provide a sanctuary where senior and special-needs animals can live out their days in peace and comfort. And for me, it’s the fulfillment of a calling that I never could have imagined, but one that has become the very essence of who I am.

Autumn Affection and the Changing Seasons

As I look out over the pastures, I’m struck by the beauty of the changing seasons. In the spring, the fields were alive with the boundless energy of kid goats, their big ears and gangly legs a delightful contrast to the more staid and serious adults. Summer brought a different kind of charm, with the goats seeking refuge from the heat in shady spots and cool water troughs.

And now, as autumn paints the landscape in warm hues of gold and red, I can’t help but feel a sense of reflection and gratitude. This is the time of year when we celebrate the resilience and wisdom of those who have weathered many storms, the ones who have earned the right to simply bask in the comfort of their golden years.

The Golden Girls of PSGR are the embodiment of this seasonal shift. They’ve faced hardship and adversity, but through it all, they’ve maintained a quiet dignity and an unbreakable spirit. Whether it’s Saffron, the Saanen doe who was used for years as a dairy producer, or Chiquita, the emaciated Saanen who now greets everyone with enthusiasm, these girls have found a sanctuary where they can truly thrive.

And as I watch them graze and rest, I’m reminded of the power of love and compassion. These animals, who have been discarded and forgotten, are now the center of our world. They are the teachers, the inspiration, and the reason we do what we do.

So as the leaves begin to fall and the air grows crisp, I can’t help but feel a sense of autumn affection for our Golden Girls. They are the living embodiment of the change and transformation that this season represents – a reminder that even in the face of adversity, there is always hope, and that with the right care and support, a new and beautiful chapter can always begin.

The Pet Rescue is honored to be a part of these animals’ stories, to bear witness to their resilience, and to provide them with the comfort and security they so richly deserve. Because in the end, it’s not just the rescues who are saving lives – it’s the animals themselves, who teach us the true meaning of strength, grace, and the power of a second chance.

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