Most of you know Pinky, but if not, let me introduce you! Pinky is the last of the toxoplasmosis infected babies. She had a very rough start to life, developing a terrible infection in her eyes and possibly brain as a newborn, needing round the clock care. She not only survived, but is thriving now!
Unfortunately, the viral illness did take most if not all of her sight, but Pinky has never let that stop her. The bigger she gets, the naughtier she gets I think sometimes! Having lived much of her early life inside the house, she is quite certain that the world was made just for her.
As Pinky got older, we started letting her go outside to browse under supervision. She became harness trained in no time, and even visited Tractor Supply to pick out a brand new harness! Everyone fell in love with Pinky hard, and we all are dedicated to her lifelong care, even if keeping track of a blind goat can sometimes be a challenge!
Pinky’s adventure started out innocently enough. She was in the front yard, picking at grass happily like always. As we all know so well, it’s so terribly easy to become distracted and complacent! Pinky has always stuck very close to the house where she is familiar with her surroundings, but one evening, as we became busy with chores and milking, Pinky decided that wandering off into the big pastures and forest just seemed like a great idea!
By the time we noticed, darkness was closing in, and Pinky didn’t respond to our calls. Normally when she becomes lost and confused, she begins to circle and call, helping us to pinpoint her location. We walked out, calling for her, but silence only answered between the crickets chirping in the long grass. Sick with anxiety, we were forced to call off the search before long and returned home, with plans to go back out as soon as there was light enough to see again.
Morning milking was rushed through and as soon as it was finished, we trotted out to look for our little adventurer once more. We had around 25 acres of mixed pasture and forest that she could be on now – I tried not to worry too much about predators; thanks to the Z-Team, most wild hunters give our property a wide berth now. We followed the main goat paths, calling for little Pinky, but as the minutes grew longer with no response, our concern only grew. It would break the entire farm’s heart to lose Pinky.
After some time I stopped and stood for a while just to think. I knew I could go back and fetch Apple the pony and cover more ground, and decided if we didn’t find Pinky soon, that is what I would do. I took a moment to think more like a goat – where would I be if I was a goat? A blind lost goat?
I would go to water, which animals can locate by smell. But Pinky was no where near the main ponds in the pasture, where she had often grazed before under supervision. I retraced paths I know the goats take well, considering the options. Luckily, I spend a great deal of time out with the goat herd and know the property fairly well. I knew there was another pond in a forested area, just an oversized puddle really, shadowed by trees and sheltered in a hollow with fairly steep sides all around. I split off from the others to check that area, calling for Pinky as I went.
She didn’t answer, but I spotted her bright little face peering upwards at me as soon as I reached the edge of the trees. “Pinky!” I shouted, leaping down to the water’s edge to scoop her up (Oof, she’d gotten heavy by that point) and bring her back to the pasture. “I found her!” I called out in relief as Pinky nosed at my cheek, as if to ask what took so long. She was no worse for wear despite her long night all alone in the forest.
I put her down once we joined up with the others and we patted and made a fuss over her, scolding the little goat for making us all worry and search. She was thrilled with the attention and began to beg for treats, searching eagerly for our pockets. Relieved, we were able to laugh now and we took Pinky home to be spoiled a little extra.
Needless to say, Pinky no longer browses without the GPS tag attached to her harness, though her browsing hours are few these days. Now she spends most of her time with the kids, relearning what it’s like to be a goat, and she loves it. It’s amazing to see her boss around the others, and even more astounding to see the other kids adjust their own behavior to suit Pinky’s disability.
No matter what happens, Pinky will be cared for and loved for her entire life, and I can’t help but wonder as I bend over to pet her and she looks up at me with her smug little expression, if she’s thinking about the time she had an exciting overnight adventure all on her own.