Raising Amadeus

By Terri Smith –

In another month Amadeus will be five years old. When I realized this a few days ago I no longer wondered why it was that I have been having such a difficult time coming up with things to say about him this month. Five years is a long time to have been writing (or reading) about a goat.

Amadeus' fourth birthday party Photo:  Mark Rupp

Amadeus’ fourth birthday party Photo: Mark Rupp

And especially this goat! It’s not as if he is actually all that interesting. His main occupations are eating and pooping and sleeping, and sometimes he head-butts things or people or animals, and he often falls over. Alright, I guess that is a bit funny. But is it really five years’ worth of funny? What have I even found to say about him for so long? When he was younger and spent most of the time that he wasn’t eating or sleeping or pooping trying to die (which I only knew he was doing because he wasn’t eating or sleeping or pooping) I had more to say about him. But now that he has settled into a simpler existence, while I am thankful for it, I have nothing to write about.

I’ve already related all the life lessons he has taught me. He has made me cry with fear for his safety, with relief every time he comes back from the brink, and just because I love him beyond comprehension. The relationship between humans and animals is an interesting thing. They are like us and yet not like us, and the effect a different species can have on humans is both strange and wonderful.

While the start of his life was filled with public appearances, I may not bring him out so much anymore. He is mostly retired from public life these days. He has been content to wear fancy hats and come to town to have his picture taken with children for years. But he has made me nervous while doing so because he is not all that good with adults and I have had to be ever vigilant that he doesn’t inadvertently hurt someone. I have learned to read him better than I can read most humans, and this is really quite a skill because goats have almost no facial expressions whatsoever. As anyone who has goat knows, you have to understand them to be able to see what they are feeling. But once you know them you usually have a half-second warning before they head-butt someone.

Perhaps I actually understand this goat too well. I have anthropomorphized him to a rather alarming degree. I’m sure there are some readers out there who are thinking, “She should really have a baby so she can stop treating that goat like it’s her child,” and probably others who are thinking, “Good thing she doesn’t have any children; she’d probably treat them like goats.”

And yet, every moment that I spend with Amadeus I am grateful to know this little orphaned creature. He is a weirdo, but he is my weirdo and he and I just make sense to each other.

Terri Smith is a non-certified organic vegetable farmer in the Cariboo. She is passionate about writing, art, goats, and feeding good food to good people. She believes in following your heart, living your dreams, and taking care of the planet.

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