Standing just over a foot high and weighing about 10 pounds, Jack is barely bigger than a large rooster; but the amount of love this tiny goat has to share is immeasurable. Always at the ready for hug and kisses, he’s one of the sweetest kids we’ve ever known, seeking us out for a cuddle (or a warm bottle) every chance he gets. To think that little Jack was once abandoned and left to die in a stockyard stall is nearly unimaginable.
Born as a twin during an early January sale at New Holland Sales Stable in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, tiny Jack had an extremely rough start to life. His mother was auctioned off before he had a chance to nurse, and he and his sibling were left behind in the bitter cold, filthy stockyard stall without access to warmth and the vital colostrum (protective antibodies in a mother’s milk) they needed to survive.
What’s worse, being so fragile, the twins were deemed worthless from the moment they were born. After all, in the callous world of the stockyard, orphaned newborns (as well as sick, injured and “spent” animals) who aren’t claimed by anyone after failing to sell are often killed, forgotten about or discarded on dead piles. Such would have been Jack’s fate as, after a farmer offered to take both kids for free but ended up taking only one, he was left alone to die.
Hours after Jack was abandoned, however, a Farm Sanctuary humane officer arrived on the scene and discovered the tiny kid in the nick of time, as the 3-pound newborn was already suffering from hypothermia and a navel infection, likely caused by the filthy conditions he was birthed in and exacerbated by his lack of colostrum. Recognizing that Jack was dying, the officer confiscated him immediately, took him to a local vet and later saw him off to our New York Shelter for continued intensive and rehabilitative care.
Though Jack was a victim of neglect deserving of protection under the law, the farmer who said he’d take the goat could not be identified and therefore could not be charged. But while this is the case, it is inexcusable that the tiny goat was left to die and no one noticed – especially given New Holland Sales Stables ’ poor track record with abuse. This incident is not isolated, but rather symptomatic of bigger problems at this facility, which among other infractions, was found guilty on three counts of animal cruelty in 2007 after the same officer filed charges for the inhumane handling of downed sheep on the premises.
Safe in Farm Sanctuary’s compassionate hands, Jack is truly one of the fortunate ones, though his first weeks of life have still been very difficult. Once he arrived at our New York Shelter, we medicated him daily to treat his navel infection and pneumonia and he seemed to be recovering well. However, though he had a very healthy appetite, eating more than other goats his age, he was not gaining weight and we became concerned. We took Jack to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals for further treatment and diagnostics, but a few days after arriving there, his condition worsened and he ended up staying for 22 days. During this time, veterinarians tube-fed the weakened little goat and administered oxygen and medications through a nebulizer and IV while trying to find the source of his troubles. Although his vets were never able to make a definite diagnosis for why he wasn’t growing at a normal rate, Jack did eventually stabilize and gain weight, so he was able to come back to the sanctuary for further rehabilitative care.
Just newly-home from the hospital, Jack remains in a very delicate state and we continue to worry about his future, as he is still very small and not growing at a normal rate. Despite all that he has been through, however, he has an amazing spirit and inspires everyone who meets him. An incredibly sweet, loving and happy baby who makes the most of every moment he feels good by playing and having fun before he tires out and needs to rest, Jack has a tremendous love for life that humbles us all.
We at Farm Sanctuary certainly can’t imagine a life without Jack, and we continue to do everything we can to give this brave little fighter the opportunity to experience a full, joyful life. But we cannot do this alone. If you can help us care for Jack and provide him with the continued medical care he needs to thrive, please make a vital donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund today. Jack, and other animals in need, are truly grateful for your support.
Visit our “Sanctuary Tails” blog to see a video of Jack at play!