I sit kind of hunched up because the couch I slept on is still torn up without the pillows
replaced. Nothing to lean back on. Blurry. Just waking.
I sit in wrinkled clothes. Too exhausted late late last night when I fell on- passed out on
the couch to change.
All around me a chaotic mess; wood burning stove surrounded by small pieces of bark
and ash, newspapers everywhere, straw and dirt on the highly varnished pine wood
floors, dishes that need to be washed, towels in a crumbled pile... and I hear the bleat of
a tiny living creature lying just feet from me and a peace of epic proportion fills me. I am
in love. Gone. Done.
In relative cleanliness to my right at the end of the couch in front of a nine-foot sliding
glass window overlooking twenty miles of Wisconsin wilderness lie three little baby goats.
They lie snuggled up together, nestled on a good thick layer of alfalfa (alfalfa as I am
such a novice to this world of saving baby goats that I do not yet know about straw).
Over the alfalfa is a soft Navajo blanket of cream and red and yellow, under all a tarp
covered first with newspaper. The good rich clean smell of alfalfa permeates the room.
Winston Churchill Buffalo Head, Pickle Juice Head and Shanta Clare (at least for now -
names I believe are a work in progress, an evolution not to be rushed with the goal a
name that fits each individual perfectly) are four, three and two-and-a-half days old
They have claimed with my dog Moj, of course, the bulls eye, the center of my heart.
They are fragile, beautiful creatures who do not yet have a hold on living through this
next day. Or, this next hour. My heart pounds in my throat...
MOVE. NOW. I must move now from this couch just as a huge ball of red sun begins to
appear on the horizon. There is so much to do; they need warmed milk as often as I can
get them to take it, bedding changed, fresh hay brought in. Move now, despite only an
hour or two of sleep. No alternative. Move or they face death.
Four days ago it all began…
More small branches. More dried grass and I hear the wood start to pop. I see my
breath. My fingers are numb. My lungs sting. Finally, the fire in the wood burning stove
catches. Important. It is my only heat source.
I have just returned from dropping Jon at the airport for his flight to Peru after four days
together up north cross country skiing, to a very cold log cabin. I will remember that time
up north, saying goodbye to Jon at the airport as the end of another life.
It is early March. A long and brutal and savage winter assaults us. Today it's fierceness
is especially harsh. Snarling rabidly winter lays siege to the hundred and sixty acres on
which the little cabin sits. The dirty yellow saliva of a drooling monster freezes to the
eaves of the barn and the fence wire into the sharp threatening pinnacles of a icy ogre's
grimace. Everywhere, everything is imprisoned by ice. The wind snaps and howls. The
temperature must be below zero.
I look out the big sliding glass window south, to the field where the herd of over a
hundred goats, my amazing neighbors, have stayed out the winter.
What… is that?
A tiny bundle and I squint... "My God" I whisper as the bundle moves. "Are there babies
The wind shakes the cabin. My stomach tightens. "Yes." A prayer escapes my lips.
Naively, ignorantly I try to convince myself, "Of course, of course, of course - they must
be OK; they must be properly cared for." I know almost nothing about goats except that
they are precious, adorable; except the little which the owner of the goats sounding very
caring and informed has shared with me. Who but the most savage monster would not
care properly for any dependant innocent creature with whom they are entrusted?
“They've got to be ok…” I quickly put on my warmest coat, tell myself again and again,
“Its OK. They've got to be OK." and I run through the storm, down the hill to check.
What happens next... the specifics oddly I can not remember. For the first time in my life
I think my memory is blocked as protection against the horror. I can not remember
exactly - only that there are many babies who did not make it. I can not remember
exactly - only that instead of happy healthy newborns and their mothers I walk among a
battlefield of the dead and dieing, a graveyard of sorts. So many dead. So many fragile
and suffering animals.
I'm not sure of the time sequence but the first thing I remember clearly is watching in a
kind of slow motion frozen shock as my sweet dog, Moj runs to a small bundle. He is
nudging at it gently, insistently. A wet lifeless creature smashed into the snow... and "MY
GOD" - I must have screamed this. Movement. Only through this insistence of Mojo, do I
notice lungs rising up and down ever so slightly. Only through this act am I jarred from
my frozen horror to realize that this seemingly lifeless creature is not dead like so many
others around him, needs help desperately. There is hope. My God, there is hope. I
must act. Do... something. Now, move Jody. Now. Move. There are those on the verge
of dead, not already dead who need help. "MOVE. NOW."
I fall to my knees before the tiny creature. I gently pry the wet, mangled black and white
fur from it's entombment in the snow. Someone, something soothing, divine talks to us
with soft cooing sounds which escape through my lips. I cradle the almost weightless,
sodden fur to me and reality hits - it becomes a small, lifeless body clinging to life. What
else is there but to fight for him? Tears freeze on my cheeks. I open my jacket and soft
fleece shirt, wrap my clothes around him, hold him as close to my warmth as possible
against the cold cold winter day and carry him, run, fighting the wind, through the snow,
climbing to get to the cabin. My legs can not move fast enough.
I have fallen off the edge of a cliff or rather blindly after a full-fury heart pounding run
leapt, into another life, into an all-consuming zone of concentration on one thing,
rescue. How long will it last? Hours? Weeks? The rest of my life? How does one stop
before the last of the suffering is saved?
I am crying, "Please don't die. Please don't die little one." This will become my mantra.
I struggle to open the cabin door. Once inside I have to back into the door, push hard to
close it against the fierce north wind.
With intense suddenness, quiet. The howling bitter cold wind subsides.
In this void of silence I feel and taste and hear my heart pound, a lump in my throat, my
eyes glazed with tears I must ignore. It is sheer terror at what will define itself later, when
there is time, as the sickening realization of man's ability for inhumanity, of man's ability
for accepted legal cruelty, torture with a smile practiced upon all other innocent life as
long as that life is not human. Why? Because we can. Why? Because we choose to. I will
learn it to be the worse of 'civilizations' atrocities, billions of lives over countless years
suffering unimaginable terror at the hand of humans.
In the quiet, I feel only cold from the soft fur of the new born goat I am cradling.
A blur. Tears. This little one, down and so fragile and small and cold and yet still
breathing, still heroically trying. Sheer terror. And I block it off - I must. And I am back in
that zone of complete concentration on one thing, rescue.
I know I must warm him. Sitting on the bathroom floor, I wrap the little boy whom I now
love with all my heart in my thickest terry cloth towel. Dark blue against his shiny black
and white. He is amazingly beautiful - a work of art. I run the blow dryers heat into the
towel so he is surrounded with heat. I remember what warms me.
I tear myself from him. Run to the phone. I need information on how to save baby goats.
I know as much about goats as I do about gazelle running on the Serengeti.
I call the grandson-in-law of the owner, the one who is supposed to be caring for the
goats. The grand daughter, his wife, answers and with a sympathetic sorrowful tone
says something like, "Yes Jody, I know. It is horrible but there is nothing you can do.
They need their moms to survive." I need diplomacy. I need to try for any little bit of
information that may help, so "What have you tried? Please tell me anything."
"Everything." says the granddaughter. "Nothing works."
I hear the dead end of this family’s heart. They have bred over a hundred goats to give
birth in the midst of winter's reign without a proper warm barn, without heat lamps and
enhanced nutrition for the mothers and human presence to stand by and help in case
help is needed as seems just common sense which even a ten year old could
comprehend. This is just one aspect of the hidden truths of acceptable farming
practices. I do not believe her words. I know nothing will stop me from trying until the
end. I quickly hang up to sprint in another direction. I check back with the beautiful
creature, adjust the blow dryer properly and try to make his lifeless body more
… now as I write this months later tears fill my eyes - I know what will happen .
I search the phone book for veterinarians. Two receptionist say that they do not work
with goats, the third puts me on hold to ask the vet and comes back to say, "You've got
to warm him and get food into him, electrolytes.” She says, “I know this sounds cruel but
you’ve got to force it into him.” I take these two pieces of advice, the only semblance of
knowledge I have, as if they are the Holy Grail and I follow through, dive in, no holes
barred. When I choose something as worthwhile, there is no compromise, there is only
passion and of all the things I've chosen in my life this thing - to save this life - I want
more than anything I can ever remember.
… tears blur the words I write. God, please... I killed, drowned, that beautiful creature I
could have saved if I had had the right information. I can see... NO!!! I must block the
picture of foam slowly coming from the black shiny nose after death. God I didn't know. I
didn't know. I love you sweetest little beautiful boy - know this where ever you may be.
I continue warming him and as explained by the vet’s office, concoct an electrolyte of
warm water, baking soda and honey. I have nothing like an eye dropper so I empty a
plastic contact lenses soaking solution bottle, cut off the bottom so I can fill it with the
drink and try to drip it into the mouth of the little one slowly. I warm and force fluids into
this soft beautiful creature and plead with him gently as I cry. "Please don't die little one.
I love you. Please!!!! Don't die."
Minutes pass in frantic effort as I sit on the bathroom floor holding, cradling him wrapped
in the warm towel. Minutes to an hour, two.
He is holding out despite what I now know was an assault against his fragile being. He
was fighting to live and I killed him and I sob now forever in a part of me that is
There are signs of the struggle against me, his murderer, for life. Resistance to the fluid
I am trying to force into him. “God” I scream, “I could have saved him.” I know it. If only I
had known. If only I had been prepared. I did not even know the goats below were going
to have babies. I could have used the proper process I eventually learned to save my six
little ones and saved this first fragile beautiful creature; all so very very preventable.
This little one was the most beautiful goat I’d ever seen. His black and white markings…
astonishing. I picture he and Moj, my black and white springer spaniel becoming best
friends and running and playing together…
I don't know if I should write of this sadness. The pain in remembering is only torture. It is
just - I love him. It is just that when I read back over the first writing of this in which I did
stop, did not write the whole of it that I wanted it, the bare truth of it, the honesty and so
here it is. Maybe I do not want for him, us to be alone, so I bring you all there, to
somehow help bear some of the pain for him. Maybe even after the fact if there are
enough who care, his suffering will not have been in vain, will have somehow been
lessened or destroyed. Ah, my prayer…
Several hours in his head fell limply against his body and his breathing stopped. He
didn't make it.
Again at this point things are a blur. I am profoundly affected by the death of this
beautiful little one. I will not understand the far reaching implications for some time.
I do know that soon after, that same day I go back down to check on the herd. I find little
Buffalo struggling to live in that horrible death field, but I do not remember exactly.
When I start to remember, when the haze clears, some how here is little Buffalo,
unnamed as yet called ‘Little One’ or ‘Sweet Little One’ - so incredibly tiny, maybe three
to five pounds wrapped in a green fleece blanket on the front seat of my Subaru station
wagon where I tuck him in as comfortably as possible. The heat is blasting out on high
against the brutal cold. He is regal, majesty in his being despite all. He will come to be
known as King Buffalo the Beautiful, the ruler, my gentle giant at maybe 200 pounds,
not fat but tall and regal, beautiful beyond words and so so so gentle and kind. Little
Buffalo though weak sits besides me that first day and he is actually holding his head
up. This gives me hope. I will learn how very strong this positions him comparably. He
is ethereal, seems to be wavering between this world and the next world. I do not think
he will make it. But I fight and pray that he will - or rather my fight is my constant prayer.
And Buffalo, lives. There is hope... As long as there is breath, there is hope.
The amazing story of Zorro and Buffalo and the rescue of over two hundred and twenty
continues. It is written in honor of the brave and beautiful souls who did not make it.
Their story must be told. Do not let their suffering and deaths be in vain. Please help in
anyway that you can.
If interested in a copy of this incredible book or for further information on The Zorro
Foundation and Ultra Humane Farming please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book proceeds go to The Zorro Foundation: WORKING TO END SUFFERING AND
ILLUMINATE JOY FOR ALL LIVING CREATURES.
|Me with my Loves: (from right to left) Chocolat, Buffalo,
Shanta-Clair, Zorro (just behind Shantee on my lap) & Zing-Zing at
about 2 months old.
“ZORRO TO THE RESCUE”
“Zorro To The Rescue” is what I have called the whole of this endeavor. It is all in
his honor. It is in honor of a little white goat with a black patch over each eye who came
to life in my arms as I struggled and begged and pleaded for him to live. The adorable
amazing beautiful baby goat who played and danced and head-butted but mostly
cuddled as close as possible. The little goat who lived and taught an amazing light of
pure unfettered joy... and died in my arms as I fought and begged for him to stay - my
guardian angel goat now, who if heaven is I will again some day soon cradle gently in
The story that changed my life is available in book form and an excerpt follows. It is
the reason this business exists today. If interested in a copy or for more information on
The Zorro Foundation, Ultra Humane Farming or going vegan, please contact us.
For the most vulnerable innocent defenseless and beautiful
- the animals, because this fight is what matters and with it's triumph
the foundation from which the world can heal.