So I Don't Exactly Live On a Huge Dairy Cattle Farm...

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Ok, so I don’t exactly live on a huge dairy cattle farm out in Texas. I live on a small self owned goat farm in Connecticut. When I was about 10 it all started as a joke. I wanted to join 4-H but didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I was leaning toward some thing like rabbits or sewing; some thing simple. My mom says, “What about goats?” I just laughed. Goats were dirty, smelly, trouble- making critters that my dad would never let me have, or so I thought. I got involved in a club in the same town, Goats Etc. I started leasing my goat, Kelsey in January. She stayed at my 4-H leader’s small farm in Ellington. Once or twice a week I went down there and visited her and helped with whatever chores needed to be done. As long as I helped out there was no lease fee. Then in April, the worst thing that could ever happen to an 11year old girl happened; Kelsey got bloated and died. She got into the grain and ate too much. This caused her to get what they call, Enterotoxemia. I was heartbroken but determined to continue spending time with an animal I had come to love. I began leasing Kelsey’s sister, Kendra. Kendra and I needed each other; we each needed someone to love. The next step was tough. I had to get her to trust me. She had rarely ever been handled and she’s a nubian. If you know anything about the different dairy goat breeds, you probably know that nubians are stubborn and strong. Well, Kendra was about my size and more stubborn than any thing else I know. But I was stubborn, too. I would not take no for an answer. Every weekend I practiced showing. I left ruts in the yard and blisters on my hand but by the middle of August of that same year, she was finally getting the clue. After about a year she moved to my backyard. It was something I never would have figured would happen. Now Kendra and I are the best of friends. I mean how many people, or even dogs, will sit there for an hour or two while you had a good cry and will just listen to all your problems? Who else can sense your exact feelings at that exact moment? I’m now almost 16 which means we’ve been working together for about 6 years. I’ve had other goats but she is still my favorite since she’s gotten me to where I am today. I wouldn’t trade her for any other goat. She cries for me at the gate and will absolutely not cooperate for anyone else. In 2006, at the Eastern States Exposition, she helped me achieve the title of Top Showmen and July 2007 she once again helped me gain Top showman at an American Dairy Goat Association show. She has given so much more than trophies and ribbons, though. With raising goats, I’ve gained responsibility, confidence, maturity, and a sense of love and appreciation. Without her I would not be who I am today. I used to be a girly girl who couldn’t trust even herself or possibly have a real comprehension of life and death. I never dreamed that I could be the kind of person who didn’t mind shoveling manure but if it keeps my best friend healthy and clean, I don’t mind. Now, Kendra is my 4-H prize and FFA project but she has also become one of the family and one of the most important parts of my life. I don’t know who or what I’d be without her.





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