Back in April of this year I went on a mad search on a country website looking for farm animals. I developed an obsession, okay?! At least I’m honest! I just had an accident on a green horse (meaning one that was not suitable for a rider, yet the owner was not honest with us about this fact until after the accident!), and I was unable to ride for a while. I would still go outside and love on the horses we have, but I was watching my family live my dream of owning and riding horses! They were getting to enjoy the way it felt to get on the back of a horse and let all of your cares fly away as you were free under the vast sky on one of God’s greatest creations: a horse! Until I was able to ride again, I set my sights upon a little dwarf goat.
Oh, he was the prettiest little thing having just been born. Instantly when I saw his picture, I knew I had to have him!
He was three hours from us, but the miles between us meant nothing to me. He had to be mine, and so we drove those three hours, my family and I, to meet the little goat. Considering that I was taking both of my children with me, I knew that I would not leave there with ONE goat but more than likely two.
And … we did!
While the little gray goat wrapped my oldest daughter all the way around his little hoof, my youngest daughter begged and pleaded for a little black and white goat that was tugging at her heart strings that day!
Tony and Angel were a sweet little pair of pygmy goats. These baby goats filled my daughters’ arms as each picked up their chosen and immediately began loving on them. It didn’t take long before these little goats filled their hearts with such joy, happiness, and love.
The drive home (remember … three whole hours) was filled initially with lots of volume from the goats as they were being separated from their mother. We forgot the earplugs, too! But alas, we suffered through it and thankfully they settled down about halfway home. ~Whew~
When we arrived at home, we got them all settled in and poured the love over them even more so. The girls would have stayed out there forever if we would have let them, but they needed to sleep some time!
These little baby goats required milk at first, and nothing is sweeter than bottle feeding a baby goat! They were absolutely adorable! But, it didn’t take long before they no longer needed bottle feeding and were able to eat … everything … in … sight!
If you’ve never been around the little pygmy goats, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you start early with handling them, they will sit in your lap just like a dog or cat. They will follow you around, affectionately calling out “Ma … Ma …” after you. So many times my daughters sat outside holding and cuddling with their little baby goats.
At others times, they would run through the yard with the goats closely behind them kicking their heels and bucking ever so often as they ran. They were frolicking and playing just like my daughters!
Tony was the cuddle bug out of the two. He would let you hold him like a baby, although on occasions he would yell a very loud, “MA!” which would send my girls into a fit of laughter. My oldest daughter loved doing this to Tony. It was hilarious! He wasn’t hurt, and trust me when I say that he was loving every minute of being cradled in our arms. He would tuck his little head under our chins and snuggle as closely as he could to our necks.
I cannot ever call an animal by their given names. I always have to make my own version of their name, which my daughters think is cute in a weird and crazy sort of way, but they’ve grown to love that about me, too! Tony became known as Tone Loc around our house, thanks to me. At other times, he would be referred to as Tony The Tiger, although he is clearly not a tiger. Don’t ask. lol The only thing I can think of is the cereal commercial where the actual tiger says that Frosted Flakes are “Grrrrrrrrr-eat!” Yea, I know you’re still shaking your head on that one.
Out of all of our animals (all 15 of them … five horses, four dogs, two goats, two rabbits, and two cats … I TOLD you it was a farm! lol), Tony was my oldest daughter’s favorite furry family member. They truly aren’t just animals, they aren’t just our pets either. They are family! We take each one in to our homes and into our hearts, where they stay. There simply is no other way to do it. If you’re going to have any kind of animal, make sure you’re dedicated and devoted to giving it the best life you possibly can as a member of your family.
My daughter would take “selfies” with Tony and post them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Members of the bands that she loves knew Tony by name as she shared his picture with them as well. Tony became famous that way!
Sadly, this past weekend Tony became ill. We noticed that Angel was still roaming around getting into everything and making us laugh as she tried to come inside the house. However, Tony was laying in the sun. We thought, at first, that Tony was just soaking up the sun as it had been so cold here with rain as well, but last weekend it warmed up and was really nice outside. Then we realized that it might be a bit more than that as Tony wasn’t himself at all.
My youngest daughter went out to lay beside Tony and cuddle with him where they both ended up falling asleep. I still tried to explain it away by saying he’s just enjoying the warmth of the sun and the love she’s giving him. In my heart, I wanted to believe that was true.
The next day we were calling the vet to see if there was anything we could do to help Tony. We desperately wanted to help the little guy. The vet was booked that day but gave us several things to do at home to help him. We did just like the vet instructed, and for a brief while it seemed as if Tony might be on the mend. We left to go to a concert only to return to find Tony laying there shivering. We touched Angel to see if she, too, was cold, but she wasn’t. We quickly ran into the house and got a baby blanket to wrap Tony in, and my oldest daughter carried Tony to the house. She sat out there with Tony cradled in her arms, and Tony’s little head tucked under her chin as he always did. Suddenly it was as if he lost control of his little neck and could no longer support it at times.
And she began to cry.
She rocked this little guy, holding him as close as she possibly could with the love between them so apparent to all that witnessed it.
And then my youngest daughter began to cry as well.
We sat out there with Tony until well after midnight. My girls had school the next day, so I told them that they needed to give all of their love to Tony and then get ready for bed as it was well past their bedtime. We couldn’t deny them this time with their beloved Tony, though, as we did not know how things would progress through the night/morning.
I checked on Tony around 1 a.m. before turning in myself, whispering a little prayer as I stroked his little face and looked into his eyes telling Tone Loc that he had to pull through.
We awoke the next morning to the news from my husband that Tony did not make it through the night. Our hearts were broken as tears streamed down our faces.
It was hard to get ready for school and work after news like that.
We did the best we could, but we were all late for work as we had to bury our beloved family member. In the morning fog, my husband made his way out to dig a grave for Tony, complete with a cross as the headstone.
We forced ourselves to focus but ended up giving in to random tears here and there throughout the day. My youngest daughter told her class what happened, and the teacher immediately made a sympathy card complete with a picture my daughter had submitted a few months earlier of her and Tony in the pet contest at school. That was so incredibly sweet of them!
My oldest daughter tried to be so strong and act like her heart really wasn’t broken, only for me to find her later curled up sobbing over the loss of little Tony. She asked me why this had to happen. She said Tony was so young at only ten months old. She said he hadn’t gotten to live really in that short amount of time, and she did not understand why something like this had to happen. There are no words that will soothe and comfort a broken heart; none. I curled up with her and hugged her while doing the only thing I knew to do; pray. I prayed for comfort from God above; for Him to wrap His love around her and comfort as only HE could at a time like this.
What a little goat taught us in the short amount of time he was here on this earth was that it’s all about love. Because it is …
There is no greater gift than the gift of love. It doesn’t matter if it’s love from two legged family members or friends, or whether it’s love from four legged family members. Love speaks to all. I firmly believe that.
Just as my daughter displayed her love for and to Tony throughout the entire time she had him in her life, Tony gave that love back to her as well with every cute little sound he would make and every time he yelled “Ma …” From every nibble as she fed him out of the palm of her hand, to every tug she felt on her heartstrings from the very first day she saw him … He taught us that it’s always been about love.
Hold tightly to the ones that you have in your life. You never know when their time on this earth will be no more. As much as we would like to have our family and friends with us throughout our entire lives, some times that just is not possible. God calls them home – and we never know when our time will come either.
LOVE … all. It’s really that simple.
There’s no time for holding grudges. There’s no time for hatred. Make having peace and love in your heart a priority in your life. Nothing else matters. Not what this person did or what that person said. It is all irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Don’t waste a single minute more holding on to things that you need to let go of.
The only thing that truly matters is time spent with those you love. Don’t cut people out of your life or spend more time focusing on things that should not hold more value for you than your family and friends.
Take time to show those that you have in your life the love you have in your heart for them. Take time to snuggle, to bond, to be close, and just be together.
Take time to show love!
Just as we all did with Tony.
Forever in our hearts … and forever grateful for the time we did have with you, Tone Loc.
We love you.