Time to Go, Stephanie

This was a tough week. I knew that it was getting time to think about easing Stephanie out of pain.

Stephanie was a Toggenburg goat that my son, Chris, got in his second year of 4-H. She was born February 15, 2003 and we brought her home as a few-day-old kid and bottle fed her. As the years went on Chris raised many other goats from the offspring of his only purchased goats, Susannah and Stephanie. Stephanie is the goat who stayed here after Chris got out of high school and moved on to other things. In the last three years or so I have been the goat care-giver and Stephanie has been my friend.Stephanie-2003I can’t find any baby photos of Stephanie but this is her at about 6 months at the State Fair.  She first kidded at age two and Chris showed her every year along with his other goats.  dscn1040 That’s Stephanie on the left in this photo. She was never as productive or showed as well as the other goats, but she was my favorite to milk, because she had hand-sized teats instead of finger-sized ones.springgrass1 That’s Stephanie in the lead in this photo and Chris’ favorites, Trista and Suzannah, along with SparkleBerry, a Nubian who somehow ended up here.Steph kids1  Dairy goats are bred to produce more milk than their kids can handle at first and we milked the does and bottle-fed the kids. That’s my mom drying one of Stephanie’s newborn kids.Stephanie-R.ChampionStephanie might not have been the top show goat, but she had her good days. Reserve Champion at the State Fair in 2006.

Chris graduated from high school in 2009 and after he showed goats one more summer, most of the goats were sold to people who wanted to show and/or milk them. I didn’t want to do either. Stephanie became a “personality” here.DSC_8016

DSC_0909 She knew how to intimidate Rusty.DSC_0910

DSC_1911In 2010 I bred her to kid at the CA State Fair Nursery, where I also take pregnant sheep to lamb. I handled this  like we do with the sheep and Stephanie got to raise her own kid.  DSC_2168 In the last couple of years I often found Stephanie “hiding”.DSC_2169 I think that maybe she was annoyed by Amaryllis, the donkey, who though of Stephanie as her best friend. I don’t think the feeling was mutual. Stephanie was beginning to have less mobility and she couldn’t easily move away from someone who was bothering her. DSC_1431 For the last year or more Stephanie had her own stall at night so that I knew that she would get enough food. She was too stiff and arthritic to walk out to the pasture unless the sheep were grazing the closest one. Last winter was hard on Stephanie. I put a coat on her and gave her a heat lamp at night. The recent heat wave (though short at 2 days) was equally hard for her and the summer will only get worse. I talked to my veterinarian about her the other day and told her that I don’t think Stephanie ever lies down anymore because she is so stiff and sore. I would find her sleeping on her feet with her head resting on a bale of straw. We agreed that it was time for her to go. As the vet said, it’s better to make the decision a week too soon than a day too late. Stephanie died this morning as sat on a bale of hay and held her head. It was very peaceful and she didn’t suffer at all. This whole thing makes me think of my mom who died of Alzheimer’s 5 years ago. It would have been kinder and more respectful of her had she been able to die long before she finally did. DSC_7317 DSC_7318 DSC_7319


11 thoughts on “Time to Go, Stephanie

  1. Robin: a lovely post about a special doe. I know how I feel about mine, and how hard it is to make the decision you made. Stephanie had a wonderful life, and you told her story well. Thank you.

  2. r.i.p., pretty goat. i don’t know which portrait of you i like best.
    i think you look beautiful in all of them; very very pretty. k&b

  3. I’m so sorry you lost your DD sized doe-buddy Robin. She was a sweet girl and I remember her as being a big friendly St Bernard of the goat world. My condolences.

  4. Pingback: The Many Faces of Stephanie – A Tribute | Woolyadventures's Blog

  5. Hi Robin, I was away & read my email just yesterday & just want to let you know how sorry I am to hear about Stephanie. I know that was a hard day (probably a gross understatement); losing animal family is almost as difficult & sad as people family & we both send sympathy & condolences. We know she had a good life with you & all her friends on the ranch; and we’ll remember her for a long time, warm regards mindy keys & linnie altman

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