The thing I love about animals is their positive outlook. Whilst I’m worrying about the future, career, family life, everything that a 20 something year old would have to worry about, the animals trundle along, perfectly content with their lot.
Recently we moved the goats into a new field with electric fencing (see Why my Goats Hate me) and along with it we built them a new shelter. Rather than the entire shelter being raised off of the ground, as before, we decided to only raise their sleeping corner. And oh my word, Roger has never been happier about anything in his life.
The first night we heard an unusual amount of yelling we assumed that the goats were simply complaining about being left in a new area. When we went over to the field and called them they rushed out of their shelter, looking perfectly happy. The second night the same thing happened, and again they came running out of their shelter to see us. We soon noticed that the yelling always happened when the two of them where in the shelter together.
I’d like to quickly clarify that Jolly and Roger are sister and brother and that Roger is a wether (a bitless boy). If we were going to draw a Game of Thrones analogy then it would go as follows: we were worried the yelling was symptomatic of a Cersei and Jaime type of union, except that Roger has more in common with Varys than Jaime so there would be no risk of a Joffrey. Still it was gross and we’d rather it wasn’t taking place. We decided on a stake out to “catch them at it”.
When the yelling began we were in position, being able to clearly see the inside of the shelter. However, rather than incestuous, goaty love making they were simply winding each other up – entirely appropriate brother sister behaviour. Roger, whilst mild mannered on the ground, becomes a terror on the raised bedding platform. He was strutting around and butting Jolly off of the platform whenever she tried to get on. She was yelling at him and he was yelling back, occasionally jumping in excitement or spinning around. Turns out Roger becomes a Mr Hyde if raised even a couple of inches off of the ground. When we snuck in the shelter with them, under cover of chaos, Jolly wagged her tail and came in for a scratch but Roger simply bunny hopped in his place, daring us to try and remove him as King of the castle. He seemed dizzy with excitement and could barely contain himself.
Now, if I could be half as happy as Roger was, frolicking on a slightly raised section of chipboard, then all my problems would be solved. If the monthly bills came through and I felt the blues coming on all I’d have to do is stand on the first step on the staircase and the blues would be swept away by a torrent of euphoria. If I were turned down for a job and felt those momentary spasm of self doubt I could sweep my CV off of the coffee table and stand in its place, taking in a new vista of the living room and, no doubt, seeing this failure from a whole new optimistic perspective.
Unfortunately people aren’t goats, but luckily for us joy is infectious. The chipboard makes Roger happy, and that in turn makes me happy and so, I suppose, the chipboard makes me happy too. And this is the wonder of animals. It’s hard to think of bills and future stuff when Roger is so happy – even if it’s over a slightly raised platform.