Last Thanksgiving, when I found myself crying and apologizing to a dead turkey as I rammed dry bread and spices up its ass in preparation for its ultimate sacrifice into my oven, I declared on the spot that I would never eat an animal again. And I haven’t. Admittedly though, I am struggling giving up sushi. It’s not that I don’t think fish have feelings, they must, they do, but they are aloof and would probably be wholly pissed if I went in for a cuddle. Like what am I supposed to do with that? I’m working on it. Fish matter. I KNOW.
Truthfully, my love for animals may surpass my love for people. Actually, wait…it does. No offense you guys, you know I love the almighty bejeezus out of you all, but the comfort and joy animals have brought to my life can’t be matched by any human. In the fall of 2012, I said my first goodbye, and for the next two years when autumn arrived, with it came yet another goodbye. I held all three of my pets as life departed their bodies, and it left a hole in my heart so vast I can hear the emptiness echo inside me with every breath I take. They fulfilled me in a way no person ever has or will.
So, I find solace in Instagram. My feed is a collection of bald birds who wear sweaters and tiny hats, albino dogs, Charlize Theron (umm, duh) countless rescue organizations and my most favourite of all, the Goats of Anarchy. I love goats, and anyone who is within earshot of me on a daily basis has at least once had the pleasure of listening to me carry on about the love I hold for them.
My friend Caron has an equally big heart for animals. Last year, when I told her I might be pet sitting a potbelly pig we both started jumping up and down like we had stocks in Spanx and had just hit the motherload. In fact, we were so consumed with our upcoming pig-walk we ignored everyone else at the party we were at and wildly talked everything potbelly while mercilessly shoveling demolished cheese ball and crackers in our faces. Even though she admittedly loves/hates me for bringing them into her life, (because inevitably animals rip your goddamn heart out, even on Instagram), she too follows the Goats of Anarchy and has succumbed to the power of the goat.
She posted this on my Facebook wall. For a brief moment, I was like the person in the text and sat there wondering what the fuck she had just done. Her bringing home a goat is not a stretch, so of course, it took me a few minutes to figure out it was some other goat loving fool and that Billy wasn’t fighting Henry, the pug for house supremacy in Caron’s living room.
When an announcement came out that the Lavender Farm here in town would be hosting goat yoga in May, Caron was all over it, and we signed up like the future of humankind depended on it and then immediately began counting down the days until the goats.
When I told some of my other friends about goat yoga, they looked at me with horror and asked, ‘So the goats just walk on you? What if one shits on you?’ And I was like, ‘They better walk on me and I don’t care one bit if a goat shits on me! THEY’RE GOATS, AND THEY’RE AMAZING!’ Then I stormed off appalled that anyone would question my tolerance of being shit on by a goat.
The morning I drove to goat yoga, I was in pretty bad shape. My spirit was on shaky ground due to the seemingly endless war I had been waging against my ailing body, and I was utterly exhausted. But, nothing was going to come between my goats and me.
When I pulled in and began my ascent up the driveway, on either side of me were pens containing ducks and goats, and I started crying. (I mentioned I love animals, right?) I mean I was full-on bawling like that time I finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It felt as though a force had reached right inside and grabbed hold of my soul and I felt happiness so palpable the echoes that haunt me ceased.
By the time Caron arrived, I had gotten a grip, and together we giddily snapped photos and freaked out like a couple of school girls. We were in heaven.
And so it began. Meet Caron and the goats, everyone.
This little guy is Dale. He liked to get all up in my grill. I totally let him.
‘YOU CAN’T TAKE BILLY HOME, CARON.’
There was very little yoga’ing going on, but our hearts were getting an extreme workout. We were delirious.
As I lay there looking up, my eyes met a sky so magnificent my spirit could not be contained – it was soaring, and I felt alive.
When the class was over, we just sat talking, and it’s no surprise we were the last ones to leave. My time with Caron is precious, and when I have an opportunity to spend any amount of time with her, I extract as much of her as I possibly can. Anyone who knows her would agree, she is light so brilliant you can’t help but shine in her presence.
As I drove back home, I felt renewed, bursting with love and appreciation for my life, and all those who are a part of it. My connection with a friend and those precious goats restored my belief and fed my soul.
Goat yoga is a thing and if you are in need of clarity or simply feeling, sign up and surrender to the goats. They might just change your life.
Forever I will be grateful for that morning, for Caron and all the goats.
YOU GUYS…ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!