Meet Vince and Calvin: two tiny goat kids starting a new life, together.
Farm animals raised commercially are treated as commodities rather than the sentient beings they are. Take Vince, who, at the age of two days old, was used essentially as currency. Vince was born at a goat dairy. Like cows (and all other mammals), goats must be impregnated in order to lactate, which means that goat dairies produce not only milk but also baby goats. The male kids, being of no use to the dairy operation, are considered byproducts and are often sold cheaply at auction. Vince’s owner found a more direct way to trade in on Vince: He gave the tiny kid as partial payment to a man who had trimmed the dairy’s trees.
Like the dairy owner, the tree-trimmer had no use for Vince, so later that day he began going to door-to-door in his neighborhood attempting to sell the kid. When he offered Vince to his neighbor Jolene, she initially declined, having neither the expertise nor the facilities to raise a goat. Then she saw the man heading toward the home of neighbors whom she knew to have slaughtered pigs in their backyard for family celebrations. Envisioning the same brutal end for Vince, Jolene panicked. She ran after the tree-trimmer, secured Vince, and brought him back to her house.
Four days later, in the evening, Jolene called Alicia Pell, Farm Sanctuary’s national farm animal placement coordinator. When Jolene obtained Vince, she had researched the needs of young kids, procured appropriate food for Vince, and provided care for him on top of looking after her four young children and two dogs — no small task, as baby goats require frequent nursing.
For the first three days, Vince had fared well. But on the fourth day, he had no appetite and hardly drank any of his formula. Since failure to nurse is dangerous for baby goats, Jolene grew increasingly concerned. She called a local vet, explained what was happening, and sent photos of Vince. The vet told her Vince was a sheep. She decided to seek help elsewhere. She called other groups and organizations, but to no avail. Then she got in touch with Farm Sanctuary.
We knew Vince needed aid immediately or he might not survive the night. Alicia and another shelter staffer set out at once, driving four hours to arrive at Jolene’s house after midnight. There they met Vince, who had been suffering from a case of diarrhea for the previous two hours. In another two hours, they arrived at the UC-Davis veterinary.
Vince had a rough start at the hospital. He continued to have diarrhea and refused to eat for the first day, requiring tube-feeding. His protein levels were low, indicating that he had not been able to receive enough (or possibly any) immunity-boosting colostrum from his mother’s milk. Vets started Vince on antibiotics and pain medication. Slowly but surely he began to feel better. Finally, after two weeks, he was able to come home to sanctuary.
At our Southern California Shelter, Vince had a safe home, nourishing food, and devoted caregivers, but something was missing: a friend to be by his side. As luck would have it, we soon met another kid who needed the same thing.
National Shelter Director Susie Coston met Calvin while visiting a combination goat dairy/sanctuary that is phasing out their dairy business to focus on their sheltering work. Little Calvin, who seemed not to know where his mom was, attached himself to Susie, following her everywhere. She asked if the friendly young goat could come live at the Southern California Shelter with Vince, and Calvin’s caregivers agreed.
Vince and Calvin quickly formed a deep bond. They sleep entwined and will cry if they lose sight of each other. Both are eating well, growing bigger by the day, and playing like there’s no tomorrow. One of their favorite games is jumping off of caregivers who are bent over or lying on the ground with them. Though Vince and Calvin have not yet met the main herd face-to-face, they have had a long conversation across the courtyard with their future herd mate Erika. Buoyed by the friendship they share and the caring people all around them, the kids are keen to explore and experiment. For these best friends, the sanctuary is the best kind of playground.
Thanks to our supporters we are able to respond quickly to intervene in the lives of these precious individuals. If you haven’t joined Farm Sanctuary yet, won’t you consider becoming a part of this compassionate community?