Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tribute to a Special Pet

Shayla and her bottlefed goat baby, affectionately named "Little Shayla," were inseparable in Little Shayla's brief time with us (3 weeks). We were going through our foster/adopt classes when we got the goat. It was the first time both my husband and I had been away from Shayla, at the same time. We left her in good hands with Grandma & Morgan, but she showed us she was making sense of the situation by saying she "adopted this kid." That's truly amazing for a 7 year-old to come up with!

Shayla doesn't bond with anything easily, but when you are able to find a place in her heart, you are truly loved, even if she never says it. I believe this goat was truly therapeutic for her.

Little Shayla and Shayla did everything together those 3 weeks. They ran and played. Shayla climbed up her sliding board, Little Shayla tried to follow. Shayla talked to me and sang while I hung the laundry out, Little Shayla tried to eat it.

On the rare occasion Shayla was in the house, Little Shayla was like a dog, waiting patiently at the glass door, hoping for Shayla to come out and play.

We're not quite sure what happened to Little Shayla, but she passed away one night. My Shayla was devastated, but refused to shed one single tear. My husband wanted to go get her another goat right away. I told him, "No, she needs to grieve. She needs to see that you can't replace people you love." He asked Shayla if she wanted another goat. At that time, she said, "No!"

While all this was going on, my mother-in-law was purchasing and talking about a headstone for my recently deceased father-in-law. Shayla decided that Little Shayla was worthy of a headstone as well. Shayla and my husband painted this tribute to Little Shayla on a cinderblock. They then clear-coat sprayed it, so it will last longer. They placed it on the mound of dirt under our apple tree, where Little Shayla was buried. We thought that was the perfect burial spot because she loved to eat apple blossoms.

This story does have a happy ending.
After about a month, Shayla started talking to us about Little Shayla. It took her that long to sort out her feelings. She was talking about her constantly. She never did ask for another goat, but we decided to get her not one, but two goats! Now she is the proud goat-farmer to a male and female goat. Hopefully there will be more to tell of this story later....

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