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Well, I’m a week late on this one, but better late than never…

Last Saturday– July 11th– we took Todd to see the goats at Goatalympics, at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.  This is an annual fund-raising event for New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary (located in Arlington, WA).

I’m familiar with this event because I volunteered Fridays at the rescue, from the Fall of 2008 until December 2013.  (I stopped volunteering shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Todd, due to 1st trimester fatigue followed by an increase in my work hours.)

In Goatalympics’ first couple years, Eric and I helped out by timing and judging.  It was fun but a bit hectic back then!  We didn’t attend the 2013 or 2014 events.  Now– with the benefit of past experience and a more coordinated volunteer effort, the event runs efficiently and it gets bigger every year.

This year what I absolutely LOVED about it was the addition of 2 vegan food trucks (more on that later).  They were obviously a hit with everyone because they sold a ton of fantastic food.

Vegan Ice Cream!?

Vegan Ice Cream!?

We showed up shortly after it started (which was 10 AM) and were delighted to see such great attendance early on.  The goat events were already underway and there were several tables set up with numerous silent auction items to bid on, as well as raffle prizes.  We found Ellen (the owner of the rescue) and her parents, and we said our hellos.  We three hadn’t seen Ellen since just before Millie, our cat (and Ellen’s former cat) died in February of this year.

Arriving at Goatalympics

Arriving at Goatalympics

Goatalympics - July 11, 2015

Goatalympics – July 11, 2015

Todd meets a wether

Todd meets a wether

A wether is a castrated male sheep

A wether is a castrated male sheep

Checking out the goats

Checking out the goats

Good view of his 1st tooth! - July 11, 2015

Good view of his 1st tooth! – July 11, 2015

Todd & Eric

Todd & Eric

Todd & Elisa

Todd & Elisa

Of course, we had to partake of the vegan food offerings.  We both ordered the Beer Battered Avocado Tacos from the No Bones About It vegan food truck.  While we waited for the food, Eric let Todd stretch his legs and “kick some tires.”

"No Bones About It" vegan food truck

“No Bones About It” vegan food truck

Future mechanic?

Future mechanic?

Off and running!

Off and running!

Beer battered avocados (GF) in corn tortillas with smoky chipotle aioli, creamy cilantro slaw, tomatoes and comes with a side of charred tomato salsa.

Beer battered avocados (GF) in corn tortillas with smoky chipotle aioli, creamy cilantro slaw, tomatoes and comes with a side of charred tomato salsa.

After lunch, we walked over to where the adults race cars…and then where the kids race cars.  Todd enjoyed shaking the fence.

Always interested in plants

Always interested in plants

Todd

Todd

Back at the Goatalympics, we each got a vegan ice cream sammie literally right before they sold out.  The only flavor left was Matcha (green tea) ice cream with almond sugar cookies.  It was actually a nice opportunity to try an ice cream flavor that I normally wouldn’t get.  Of course, it was scrumptious (the tea flavor was subtle)!  The ice cream is coconut milk based.  Todd got a few licks and a few bites, too.

Elisa at The Cookie Counter

Elisa at The Cookie Counter

Almond Matcha tea ice cream sammie

Almond Matcha tea ice cream sammie

Look at the size of this!

Look at the size of this!

I feel kind of bad that I didn’t take many goat pictures, so I’ll leave you with these pictures, taken at New Moon Farm on August 10, 2012.  Notice I was wearing my 2012 Goatalympics shirt!

Little did I know that day…that exactly 2 years later would be the day before my baby’s due date.  So crazy!  My life is now categorized in my brain as being either BT (Before Todd) or AT (After Todd).

Elisa and Opie (wether) - August 10, 2012

Elisa and Opie (wether) – August 10, 2012

Part of the permanent herd at NMF - August 10, 2012

Part of the permanent herd at NMF – August 10, 2012

Goats are so sweet!

Goats are so sweet!

If you want to read my other posts about New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary, simply click on my sub-category tab for that, under the main category of “Animals.”

 

IMG_2721

Tatonka in his standing frame – July 31, 2013

Tatonka - July 31, 2013

I was afraid this day would come, and it has.  Tatonka was tenderly laid to rest today, Friday, August 2nd.

When I visited Tatonka on July 19th, it was actually with a mixture of joy and dread.  On that day, it had become abundantly clear to me that Tatonka’s legs were never going to become supportive of his body.

When released from his “standing frame,” Tatonka could really do nothing but lie prone in the grass, all four limbs outstretched.  Well, okay…he could scoot himself a tiny bit with a great deal of effort, in search of the best greens.  (I think he liked the clover!)  I’m happy that he did seem perfectly content to simply munch and munch.

Along with eating grass under the shade of trees, Tatonka’s true joy in his short life was being snuggled in loving human arms.  There was certainly no shortage of people offering affection.  He was loved by many.

On the morning of July 30th, I woke up to discover an e-mail from Ellen, at New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary.  My heart sunk because I knew what it was going to say before I finished reading the subject line.

(At the bottom of this page, you can read what Ellen posted about Tatonka on the New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary Facebook page).  The content is similar to the e-mail I received.

I needed to say goodbye before Friday.

About 1 PM on Wednesday July 31st, I had my last visit with Tatonka.  I heard him cry as I approached, and he was happily chewing grass.

Toby the dog and Viggo the barn cat came over to me as well.  It’s kind of like they knew.

Toby and Viggo

Toby and Viggo

I unhooked Tatonka from his sling for a bit and he seemed excited to eat a different patch of grass.  He was going to take every opportunity that he was given to search for the best fodder, and he seemed “on a mission”!  It actually made me laugh– I didn’t want to get in the way of his meal!

Tatonka on a mission!

Tatonka on a mission!

I picked him up, and supported him under his belly for a bit.  Maybe I wanted to confirm one last time that his legs were, in fact, useless.

Nothing.

And so, it’s goodbye.

Tatonka - July 31, 2013

Tatonka - July 31, 2013

Tatonka - July 31, 2013

Goodbye Tatonka

Goodbye Tatonka

Yesterday I realized that I also said goodbye to a friend last year at this time.

This is the 2nd time that my vegan anniversary (August 1st) has become a bittersweet occasion.

On my 4th vegan anniversary, I said goodbye to Bubba.

On my 5th, I say goodbye to Tatonka.

If you read the post from last year, you’ll know how I am feeling once again, now.  If I hadn’t gone vegan, I wouldn’t have known Bubba.  If I hadn’t gone vegan, I wouldn’t have been touched by Tatonka.

As I write this, I’m here with my niece.  She’s nine.  I told her about my last visit with Tatonka, and I showed her all of my pictures of him.  She asked lots of questions, and I gave honest answers.

My niece never met Tatonka, but she, too, has been touched by him.  She asked me to mail her a picture of him.  She asked for some paper so that she could memorialize him in her own special way.  Here is her drawing.  She drew him at 2 weeks old…

Drawing of Tatonka, by my niece (age 9)

Drawing of Tatonka, by my niece (age 9)

—————————————
The following quote is from the New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary Facebook page:

August 1, 2013-

“Posting with a broken heart. Tonight will be the last night that sweet Tatonka sleeps beside my bed. As hard as it is, I have decided (with the help and full support of my veterinarian and volunteer crew) that it is time to let go. To let Tonka’s perfect spirit leave his damaged body, so that he can try again in a body that is whole.

When this little goat came into my life on May 17th, he was just two days old. Born with severe leg deformities, he needed special care that his breeder was not willing to provide. For the past 11 weeks, he has been the center of my world. He has received the best possible care – traditional and alternative therapies, corrective surgeries, pharmaceutical and natural remedies. We have consulted with many vets, from our own Dr. Roger and Dr. Hannah, to doctors at Cornell University and WSU. We have talked with many experienced goat breeders and people who have worked with dogs and horses with similar problems. Tonka has surely been given every chance. He has also been completely surrounded by love and healing energy, from those who saw him daily, and from those who only know him through this page. This little goat never knew anything but love.

The problem is, he has stopped trying. He is very content to be held in a lap, to lie on his belly and scoot around to eat, to nap in the sunshine. He no longer makes an effort to stand, no longer tries to walk forward towards his favorite people or treats, no longer kicks to swim in the pool. Though content, he is not making any progress towards being able to walk without help. His quality of life is just not improving. He has developed pressure sores on his chest and belly, and the scoliosis in his spine has gotten more pronounced. As he gains weight, he will begin to feel pain in his damaged bones and joints. I can’t let that happen.

And so tomorrow, Tonka will cross the bridge of light to join Bin Bin and all of the other goats who have touched our lives and passed on. I will miss him more than I can say. I know that we did the right thing in trying to help him live a good life. I know that he has known only happiness and love in his short time here. And I know that he will return to us, in a perfect little goat body that will be able to run and play and leap through the air like a little goat should.

To all who sent love, healing energy, donations for medical expenses and kind words as we worked to help this goat, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

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"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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