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Emmett-Ezra-CarrieH Photo

Emmett takes a snooze with Erza…

Emmett with his twin brother Jasper.

Rescued from the auction block, adorable little Emmett and his brother Jasper were unwanted by-products of the dairy goat industry, where the females are kept pregnant to keep milk production high. Just like veal calves in the dairy industry, male goats are of no value to a goat operation as they don’t produce milk. These brothers were pulled from their mother, likely to be sold off as cheap “kid meat.”  Luckily for these boys and for us, the farmer had a change of heart and offered them to a woman he knew who is fond of goats — and that woman then called us.

At just a few days old, these brothers were subjected to the industry standard practice of dehorning. A tool like this one (available in any farm supply catalog) was heated to 1000 degrees and their horn buds were cauterized to oblivion without any anesthesia.

In a sad turn of events, both of these brothers returned a diagnosis of Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), a lifelong virus in goats that can cause severe and crippling joint pain without aggressive treatment. Jasper was in so much constant pain that the veterinarian looking after his treatment told us what we didn’t want to hear…that it was time to let him go in peace.  We all grieved with Emmett for the loss of dear Jasper.

Emmett and Star at the old sanctuary

Emmett and Star at our old location

Emmett became close friends with our loving Star, who became ill with cancer but was battling it with amazing spirits.  The pair would romp around our old Sanctuary grounds to greet visitors and volunteers, and sneak fresh fruits and vegetables off the wheelbarrows.  Emmett would actually pull jackets, glasses and water bottles off from the Visitor Center welcome bench to make room for himself to hop up – a better angle at which to be loved and admired by all!

After we moved to our new location and despite all of his treatments, Star’s cancer took over and he passed away.  Emmett was visibly upset and grieved for weeks, but the other goats that he resides with kept him company.  Now Emmett spends his days in the goat barn and pastures and has made friends from more recent rescues.

Emmett and his sweet friend Emily who loves to visit him

Emmett and his sweet friend Emily who loves to visit him

July 2016: Emmett has recently developed a serious infection in his back leg. The infection has caused painful swelling and an open sore, making it even more difficult for him to move around. We made the decision to move him into our Sanctuary Hospital, where we are keeping a close eye on him every minute of the day, giving him daily treatments, and trying everything we can to clear up the infection. But, because of Emmett’s age and history of health issues with CAE, we are facing the reality of this situation—if the infection has already gone into the bone, we could lose him.

Leslie, a long-time volunteer and past intern who especially bonded with Emmett, drove hours to be with him once we told her of his condition. The night of her arrival, Caregiver Dawnell had gone in to check on Emmett and found Leslie sleeping right next to him—the two sharing a pillow and blanket (apparently he’s a blanket hog)! ). Leslie also read a variety of children’s books to him that evening, as Emmett loves being read to.


Leslie spends the night with Emmett.

After watching Emmett closely for two weeks, he’s feeling much better, but the wound still wouldn’t close. Our local veterinarian, Dr. Gunzburg, examined him and had an inventive idea—insert stitches around the area to anchor a bandage to the wound. Doing this would allow for healthy tissue growth and for it to finally close up and heal. Last week, Dr. Gunzburg completed the procedure and so far Emmett, ever so patient, seems to be continuing to improve.

As for now, we’re still keeping him under close watch in the Sanctuary Hospital. We’re making every day with him count and showering him with all of the things he loves—lots of attention, massages, and his favorite snack, peanut butter crackers!

September 2016:  We lost our sweet Emmett in early September. After years of treating the effects of Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis, his health quickly declined in the last few weeks, despite our best efforts.

Emmett brought joy and laughter to so many and will be dearly missed. He would often be found sprawled out and sunning himself in front of the Visitor Center, an unusual sight that delighted tour groups. He had an incredibly kind and patient demeanor—an old soul—that was infectious to anyone who met him, especially children.

Emmett lived a happy, peaceful life and left the world in the arms of those who love him—a gift so rarely given to a male goat from the dairy industry. We are devastated over the loss of our dear friend, but know he is now reunited with his brother Jasper and best friend Star. Rest in peace, sweet boy. We love you.