By Terri Smith –
Amadeus has fared well during this fire season. We were lucky that for the first few weeks, in spite of the Green Mountain fire being way too close for comfort, the topography of our area is such that we didn’t really have much smoke here at first. We are rather sheltered in a low valley and with wind direction being in our favour, we could breathe easily for longer than many in the Cariboo. It wasn’t until so many fires burned for so long that the smoke closed in thick around us. I worried for Amadeus, of course. It’s what I do. He is my kid, and goats are known to develop respiratory problems quite easily. But, as usual since he became an adult and stopped trying to die all the time, it has been Amadeus who has helped me more than the other way round. He makes me laugh and he brings me comfort.
I think the smoke has affected his mood, though it can be difficult to say with pets how much they are actually affected by an external event and how much is really them picking up on the anxiety of their human.
Either way, when the smoke first rolled in Amadeus became grumpy. He head-butted me, he head-butted the cat, and attempted to head-butt the dog, but she was grumpy, too, and quickly put him in his place with a growl and a snap.
He has a look about him when he’s upset. It is a look I’m pretty sure only his grandma and I pick up on. Something about his stance or the set of his ears shows me he is unhappy. Though if I take a picture of him happy and another picture of him unhappy and put them side-by-side, it is difficult to discern any difference at all. Let’s just say he has an aura of grumpiness about him at such times, and so, to save the kneecaps of strangers, I keep him away from others until such time as his aura becomes more pleasant. So until the smoke clears, he must be content with my company alone.
To illustrate, here are two pictures of him both taken a few days ago on one of our less smoky days. In one he is happy; in the other he is grumpy. Can you tell which is which? Here, the external event that made him grumpy is obvious. He was eating leaves from the apple tree and somehow got an apple stuck between his horns, which displeased him greatly and amused us quite a bit. In the other he is contentedly chewing his cud whilst contemplating his importance in the universe (okay, I made that last part up). See the difference? Can you sense his aura of displeasure? No? Well, to tell the truth I can’t see any difference either, but the bruise on my kneecap can attest to his grumpiness.
Terri Smith is a non-certified organic vegetable farmer in the Cariboo. She is passionate about writing, art, goats, and feeding good food to good people. She believes in following your heart, living your dreams, and taking care of the planet.