Someone far wiser than me once said “It's not the destination that's important. It's the journey that takes you there”. 

A  CHRISTMAS STORY OF HOPE

ClaudetteIn creating Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary I had no idea of the journey I was embarking upon.  With no road map to guide me and a gut instinct that says kindness is the key to a better world for us all I set out each day in unchartered fields.

Another wise sage said “When the student is ready the teacher will appear”.  My teachers have been appearing throughout my life, teaching many simple yet profound lessons.  On the 9th July 2008 a new teacher appeared in my life, her name was Claudette and she was a goat of no distinct breed with only one horn (a legacy of a recent injury).  Battered, bruised and bloodied she arrived in the back of an animal ambulance. 

Claudette was the most petrified animal I had ever encountered, with no trust in the human species that stood before her.  Her fear was so great and her flight response so keen that placing her in any open paddock would have been fraught with disaster add to this a gun club down the road who would have seen a fleeing goat on their property as fair game and it soon became obvious that the only safe place for Claudette was in a stable with a rope attached to her collar lest she scale the wall.

While I will never know of the trauma that brought Claudette to the sorry state she was in on that first day I saw her, I knew that in time her physical injuries would heal.  The helmet the good folk at the animal hospital had fashioned for her would protect her horn bud from further trauma, while stemming bleeding and preventing infection.  It would remain to be seen if she, no we, could ever overcome the psychological damage that yielded such a morbid fear of man.

At first all I could do was just sit still on a little stump in Claudette’s stable and pretend not to notice the violent trembling my presence would cause.  In time she came to sniff me and soon she began to associate me with good things like yummy treats and head rubs.  Head rubs that would begin to rub away the massive amounts of dried blood that oddly caressed her face.  With each gentle stroke dried blood would crumble through my fingers.  In time I would be able to take her for walks, but some days it was a case of one step forward two back.  Sometimes I would be walking along only to find a goat hoof belting me about the head.  I could never understand why Claudette would do this, but once I would turn to face her she would cock her head on the side and just stare at me.  This lead me to nick name her, as only a truly loving and devoted guardian could “Claudette, my crazy crazy goat”.

As the weeks morphed into months I came to adore my “Crazy Crazy Goat”, and there can be no doubt that in me, Claudette found a human she could say “I feel safe in your company”.  Although I couldn’t always claim that I was safe in Claudette’s, for even with one horn she could pack a mean blow.  But I did Jesus proud as I literally turned the other cheek, but never returning the blow.  There was many a night as I contemplated my bruises as things were going pear shaped where this road would lead… 

Proudly on the 4th of December I undid the lead rope on Claudette that had been dragging behind her in Goatville, her newfound home, her journey almost complete.  To see this goat now with her kin, grazing peacefully and initiating contact with humans (albeit gingerly) gives me the greatest pride that I never gave up.  I remember well the ambulance driver saying to me that he would take Claudette back to the hospital when we both realised that I could not put her in a paddock to rehabilitate due to her intense fear.  But both he and I knew what that would mean.

The lesson I again learned from Claudette is one that each and every animal in my life has taught me, and that is we are all the same.  We fear things that harm us, we yearn to feel safe and all yield to kindness.  If I have achieved nothing else in my life I have made a pig happy, a cow sing and goat forgive.  And if a motley goat such as Claudette can find it in her heart to forgive our species that has so wronged her why then cannot our species find it in ours to cause them no harm.

At Christmas time, I pray that Claudette’s story will encourage every one of us to align our lifestyles with our values as we celebrate the diversity of nature and all its creatures and extend to them mercy. This will indeed make Christmas time a time to truly celebrate and may 2009 be the year of compassion.

Peace on earth to you all, I’m off to hug a goat!

Pam

 "If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others....why wouldn't we?"


Visit Pam's website to see the incredible and wonderful work that she does:

www.edgarsmission.org.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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