Studies show: goats dressed up in dapper little caps can help fight depression. Photo: Terri Smith

By Terri Smith —

It’s taken me longer than usual to write this article. It just seems that life is a bit tougher than usual at the moment. I’m guessing many of you may be feeling the same sort of “winter blues.” Christmas month, while a wonderful time of family, friends, and food can also be a bit of a shock to the system and can cause us to spiral down into some pretty dark times if we’re not careful to keep our balance. And then January arrives and cabin fever can start to set in. The dark days and long nights make for lower energy overall and with so many people around during the holidays we usually find that we have neglected to take the time to take care of ourselves.

So what does all of this have to do with Amadeus? For me, Amadeus has been a part of what has kept me grounded during the harder moments. I’d already made a habit of going down to the propagation greenhouse each night to say goodnight to him before I went to bed, but I really noticed how much better it always made me feel if I’ve had a difficult day. And then I came across an article about self-care that talked about some of the ways we can help ourselves to have more energy and it listed: “snuggle with a pet or a loved one,” and I thought, “ah-ha!” (Though I’m not entirely sure whether he falls under the category of pet or loved one). Just sitting beside him as he happily eats his breakfast makes me feel happy. It’s such a small thing, but wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if everyone had some sort of Amadeus in their life?

At the end of one particularly hard day in December when I’d been working too many hours, eating too many rich foods at unnatural times, not getting enough exercise, and not taking any time for myself, I went downstairs to put wood in the fire and say goodnight to Amadeus. I must admit that I was so tired I kind of wished I could just skip these two “chores,” and go straight to bed. But when I opened the door to the propagation greenhouse and breathed in the smell of good hay and saw the warm, fuzzy, fat, happy ball of goat that is Amadeus, I felt all my stress just melt away. I knelt down beside him, and this time, rather than get up as he would usually do when I came in, he just lifted his head and placed it in my lap. He hadn’t actually been a cuddly goat since the last time that he was sick, which now has been over a year ago. I felt like the mother of a teenage boy who after not wanting hugs from mom for over a year, suddenly gives her a great big hug!

I stroked his soft white muzzle and smiled down at his peaceful, sleeping face. I noted the way his closed eyes made perfect crescent-moon shapes, and how his little goat mouth turns up at the ends in such a perfect smile shape. He happily nestled his head into my arms while I petted him and whispered the few lines I have always whispered to him since he was baby, “Meine kleine ziege, ma petite chèvre, my little goat.” (That’s “my little goat,” in German and in French as we had helpers from Germany and France at the time of Amadeus’ first summer). Looking down at him I felt such an upwelling of love for this beautiful little creature that it brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy to have this little goat in my life.

Terri Smith is an organic vegetable farmer in the Cariboo with Road’s End Vegetable Company. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a diploma in Art.



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