The Incredible Transformation of Senior Rescue Goat, Violet
Jodi Helmer stepped up when the SPCA needed safe, forever homes for a herd of goats. They had been seized during a neglect investigation.
She and her husband run Naughty Donkey Farm Sanctuary outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, and they have the absolute best mission statement. “Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and spoil rotten,” says Helmer. “Naughty Donkey Farm Sanctuary prioritizes senior, special needs, and hospice companion animals and livestock in need of loving care for the rest of their lives.”
In this case, they offered to take six goats; three senior goats and three kids. Twelve-year-old Violet really stood out to them. But not for the best reasons. At first. Here is the story, as Helmer tells it.
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Violet and her “sisters” were terrified when they arrived. Based on their behavior, we assumed that they had very little human contact (and based on their appearance and health issues, we knew they didn’t have enough food or proper vet care).
We gave them lots of time and space to decompress, often sitting in the pasture to get them used to our presence. Violet was too scared to get close enough to accept treats so we had to toss apples, carrots, and greens over the fence so she’d learn to associate us with good things.
As we watched, we noticed that Daisy, one of the younger goats, always stuck close to Violet and repeatedly tried nursing (even though Daisy was old enough to be fully weaned); the pair also moved around the pasture as a single unit and snuggled close in their stall at night. It’s not a bond that’s shared with the other goats even though all six were rescued from the same property. We believe Violet and Daisy are mother/daughter. Out of a herd of 40 rescued goats, we happened to rescue a bonded pair.
Violet has, well, blossomed. She’s a senior goat and receives medication and laser treatments for arthritis but it doesn’t stop her from running to the gate when she sees us approach. She’s no longer a shy, scared goat; Now, she eagerly accepts treats from our hands, tilts her head up for chin scratches, and follows us straight to her stall when it’s time for bed. Daisy is always nearby.
When it comes to adoption, senior animals are often overlooked. Violet walks a little slower and doesn’t see that well but her heart still has so much capacity for love. Earning the trust of an older animal, one who lived a full life and often a hard life before landing in our care, is one of the greatest joys of our work. We know our time with Violet won’t be as long as we’d like but we’ll make these the best years of her life.
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