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The King of the Sanctuary, Emmett

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

By Kathy Keefe, Shelter Director


Ever since the day Emmett stepped “hoof” on the Sanctuary, he’s been winning the hearts of our staff, volunteers and visitors.

In his seven years with us, Emmett has been through a lot. Both he and his twin brother Jasper were diagnosed with Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), a lifelong viral infection in goats that can cause severe and crippling joint pain without aggressive treatment. Sadly, Emmett lost his dear brother to this infection, and years later he lost his best friend Star to a battle with cancer. Goats, just like humans, mourn over the loss of family and friends. We all grieved with Emmett over these devastating losses and were there to comfort him in any way possible.

Emmett, just like his brother Jasper, has battled the symptoms caused by CAE over the years. Most recently, in addition to the arthritis he battles day-to-day, he 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. I made the decision to move Emmett 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 spends the night with Emmett.

Emmett is an incredibly loving and kind individual. He loves attention (at our old location, he was known to pull visitor belongings off of the welcome bench so he could make room for himself—a better angle to be admired by all!) and has a special affinity for the caregivers, interns and volunteers who have cared for him over the years. So, it was no surprise to me that when we called to explain his condition to Leslie, a long-time volunteer and past intern with whom Emmett had bonded, she immediately drove hours to be with him.

Leslie held a very important job during her internship with us—hospice care for our older and sick animals.

Emmett’s get-well card from Leslie.

So over the years, as Emmett grappled with health issues, the two became very close. 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. He’s quite the gentleman and scholar!

After watching Emmett closely for two weeks, he’s feeling much better, but the wound still wouldn’t close. I made the call to our amazing local veterinarian, Dr. Gunzburg, who 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.


A concerned Chloe overlooks Emmett’s procedure.











Emmett’s wound is starting to heal.

Tiniest Herd member Prince comforts Emmett.

As for now, we’re still keeping him under close watch in the Sanctuary Hospital. It’s been a tough month for all of us—initially afraid that we could lose him, watching someone that we love dearly in pain. 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!

We love Emmett and know that many of our friends and visitors do too. We will keep you posted with updates. In the mean time, you can be certain he’s in the best of hands and with his friends.


For the animals,

Kathy Keefe




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