At many times in the struggle of a small business owner, one has to ask herself if she is doing the best possible service to all parties involved. Employees (human and non-human), customers, local community and world. Not just “how well is this serving me?” but “how is this serving everyone?”
On an evening when i do a walk of the property after a late milking, the sweet smell of water from the neighboring reservoir rises. Downtown twinkles in the distance. A baby goat calls for his mother. The killdeer out in the pasture are singing their nightly song. I am exhausted, and still have several more hours of inside work to do. And I am lucky. Fortunate to be right here.
There is such a great, generous community of givers and supporters who make the good times even better, and share our difficulties right beside us.
I was surprised to see a small package arrive this morning from CSU. Opened, i find a heartfelt sympathy card, the collar and name tag belonging to Arna, the goat we lost last week, and a clay imprint of her hoof with her name stamped into it. These gifts from the vets and staff of the Colorado State University Vet Teaching Hospital. The same staff that have been willing to take my phone calls in the middle of the night, tearful, frustrated and worried, to give me competent and caring advice on our dear animals not feeling well. The same staff that speak kindly and caringly through every crisis we come to, always treating me with respect, never hurried or rushed although i know the tremendous work load that they carry. They text me photos of my dear ones staying in their care, so that i know treatment is going well.
And meanwhile, one of my oldest friends who i haven’t seen in years, a lovely person, a savvy and visionary business owner, has flown in to help me with a website and all of the advice needed to successfully maintain it, her area of expertise. She has offered her time, wisdom and friendship to help move us forward in our vision. She has cooked, cleaned, run errands, played with goats, and just offered much needed kinship, in addition to the professional help.
And an email from our wonderful on-site goat adopters, Jovita, Jakob and Elijah, saying that Elijah has raised money for the farm and sanctuary, forgoing birthday gifts and instead asking friends to collect for our efforts here. Can you believe that?!
And a new resident today! Slayer, a tiny sizzle rooster. His city home became compromised when he revealed himself, loudly, to be a rooster. His loving caretakers sought any resolution that would keep him at home to no avail, and cared so much for his well being to bring him to live with us where he would be able to fully express his rooster-ness without scorn. Not only did they love him enough to not desert him, but selflessly worked to find him a situation that would best serve his needs and happiness. And helped to fund a near-future new bird area, where all of our feathered residents can be safer and happier.
The animals who live here are not livestock. They are not pets, they are not property or investments. They are our friends, our companions, our loved ones. Some are co-workers, partnering to provide. Some are refugees, needing a helping hand, some kindness and understanding, and a place to call home. We hope that we can offer them three basic things. A long, rich, joyful life full of love and happiness, appropriate care and attention when they are ill or elderly, and a kind, gentle passing to the next world, when nature, not human want, beckons them.
In this occupation that we have chosen, there are moments that are excruciating. Heartbreaking, terrifying and sad. There are moments of mind-blowing wonder, unimaginable beauty and sheer joy, too. I can only hope that our service to all is received wherever it is most needed.
To our friends, Elizabeth and Ryan, who lost someone very special tonight: hang in there. Hang on for the amazingly joyful moments. There will be lots. Much love to both of you sweet caretakers.