Blog

The Remarkable Moxie of Old Lady Goats

Molly & Maria - two peas from very different pods, Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California

Molly & Maria - two peas from very different pods, Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California

moxie, noun

1. vigor; verve; pep.

2. courage and aggressiveness; nerve.

I created the above image pair the other day because I missed my Acton crew. I had found a batch of photos from my last few visits to my former home-away-from-home (Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres) that I had set aside for later perusal and found the delightful image of Maria; I love how it mirrors the photo of my beloved departed Molly.

I worked with both old lady goats for five years - Maria is the kindly, grandmotherly type that will bake you cookies (not really, but she will gladly eat any vegan cookies you make!), and Molly fell more on the cranky spinster side. Maria helped Elle, both rescued from the same backyard butcher case, raise Cocoa and Nilla who were born to Elle at the sanctuary; we sometimes speculated that Maria could be their actual grand-doe. Molly on the other hand only put up with a baby Prince because she was so savvy she realized baby goat = treat payday. Maria is one of the greeter goats at Acton. Molly's greeting was a contemplative cud chewing with her back to you and her gaze yonder up the hill. Maria got pushed around by the other goats; Molly did the pushing.

Thinking about these old lady goats got me remembering some of the others I have met on this journey, and I am excited to introduce you to them. But first, a close-up of Maria's perfect, beautiful, old lady goat eye:

Maria - about those cookies..., Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California

Maria - about those cookies..., Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California

When I visited Animal Place I met Charlene and Laura - two old lady goats who have had the rare blessing of growing old together. This loving couple arrived from separate neglect and abuse cases in 2004 and bonded with each other at the sanctuary - twelve years of love! Watching them nuzzle, Charlene intently snuffling Laura's coat while Laura regally stood ruminating, it was clear how much these two ladies care for each other. All of the many times I visited Animal Place and I never once got a Charlene nor a Laura snuggle because these girls were too busy snuggling each other!

Charlene & Laura - excuse us human, we are busy, Animal Place, Grass Valley, California

Charlene & Laura - excuse us human, we are busy, Animal Place, Grass Valley, California

I spent at least a third of my photographing time whilst at Green Acres Farm Sanctuary trooping around the goat pasture, ostensibly capturing portraits of the gaggle of goat friends, but really just following Fauna. In several ways she reminded me strongly of Molly, who had passed just two months prior, but Fauna is uniquely her own independent spirit. I hung out with her and crawled about, capturing her portrait (a challenge since she is a pygmy goat and not that high off the ground), and hoping for a modicum of attention from this wee old lady. I managed to snap a lot of photos of her eating, which she did intently, seemingly ignoring the movements of the rest of the goat herd, content to let me trail after her and make ridiculous gushy noises of endearment, while we forged our own path into the acres of green grasses. At some point her belly filled and Fauna then deigned to let me snuggle her and capture her radiance in proper portraits.

Fauna - ready for that close-up, Green Acres Farm Sanctuary, Silverton, Oregon

Fauna - ready for that close-up, Green Acres Farm Sanctuary, Silverton, Oregon

Fauna - the grass was greener until the goats got it, Green Acres Farm Sanctuary, Silverton, Oregon

Fauna - the grass was greener until the goats got it, Green Acres Farm Sanctuary, Silverton, Oregon

Curly Sue wasted no time in making sure I knew she was the most important caprine to be photographed. I have quite a few close-up and much-too close-up photos of this gregarious old lady of Sanctuary One. Vying for greeter title with the brothers Freddy and Friday, Curly Sue has them beat however in my book due to the ineffable charm that comes to the refined and experienced goat gal. I also just learned that Curly Sue has since my visit been adopted into a loving home with a private individual who was owned by a lonely old goat girl, and so now Curly Sue has a sister-in-crime with which to live out her twilight years.

Curly Sue - coming in for the extreme close-up, Sanctuary One, Jacksonville, Oregon

Curly Sue - coming in for the extreme close-up, Sanctuary One, Jacksonville, Oregon

Curly Sue - posing for her good side, Sanctuary One, Jacksonville, Oregon

Curly Sue - posing for her good side, Sanctuary One, Jacksonville, Oregon

These elder caprine beauties are powerhouses of personality, charm, and attitude, from the elegant to the intense to the aloof. Moxie - these old lady goats rock it.

Molly - the old lady goat that started it all for me, Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California

Molly - the old lady goat that started it all for me, Farm Sanctuary's Animal Acres, Acton, California