An unlikely story of friendship and why sometimes it is best that wishes do not come true. Fiction based on a true story. Rosie is a real girl and the goats are real as well...click on the photo to see them both!
Rosie and the Goats
by Mendy Thompson
It was a hot summer day in the country. Rosie had just wakened up from her morning nap and she could sense that there was something different around her. Her nose began to twitch and sniff, even though her eyes were still sleepy and half closed. What was that smell?
As she gradually became fully awake, she became tense because the smell was stronger and she feared she was in danger. But it was an odd odor, one she did not recognize. She jumped to her feet and got into her defensive stance; the one where she pounced her front paws hard on the ground and lowered her shoulders so she could look around for the intruder.
She quickly glanced all around her home. She lived in a very large fenced area with a big shelter that she could step up on to and that is where her igloo style doghouse was. Rosie liked her home because she could sit in her shelter when it rained or snowed and gaze out at the countryside while she stayed dry and comfy. She had straw in her doghouse to keep her warm in the winter. And in the summer, her people gave her a baby swimming pool filled with cool water so she could relax and keep from overheating. You know, it can get very hot with a fur coat on in the middle of summer!
All seemed well in her home; no intruders were inside with her. She had checked behind the doghouse and every corner of her space. But what was that smell? She was getting kind of used to it by now, but she still didn’t like it. You know, dog’s noses are 1000 times more sensitive than that of a human’s and they can smell the tiniest odors that people cannot.
Rosie thought to herself, ‘well, if there is no immediate danger, I think I will take a short nap’. You know, it had been a full ten minutes since her last one and she was getting sleepy!
Rosie liked her naps. She also liked to bark at the deer and rabbits that she saw in the fields close to her home. And at night, she liked to howl! It was great fun. She had learned to do it when she was very young and she found that it brought her some attention. Not always good attention, but at least it was attention.
You see, Rosie had lived the first year and a half of her life at a house where the people didn’t really care much about her. She was fed and given water, but she craved attention and she longed to be petted and loved. She wanted so badly to get out and run with the little kids that lived in the house but she was rarely allowed to do that. She wondered why…had she been a bad girl? Did they not love her as she loved them? Why did they walk past her every day and never speak to her or touch her? She lived in a 10-foot square cage day-in and day-out and the only good part about it was that she had a roommate. Her name was Fancy and she was a little older and tried to show Rosie the ropes. And next door in his own cage was an old guy named Charlie. Rosie had seen her own reflection in her drinking water and she could tell by looking at Charlie that he was the same kind of dog she was, long golden fur, slightly slanted eyes, big paws. Her people said “Golden Retriever” so she guessed that must be hers and Charlie’s last name.
But Fancy was different. Fancy had very long hair and she was brown and white with perky ears. Her nose was very long and thin and Rosie had heard the people saying that Fancy looked like Lassie …whoever that was.
Late at night when Rosie was trying to go to sleep, sometimes she would be sad and she longed for someone to pet her or just to go inside with the people. So she started to moan a little bit one night and as she got carried away with it, she became louder and higher pitched. She felt like she was singing!! But the people in the house didn’t like it so much. They opened the back door and yelled at her to “shut up!” So she did that night. But a few nights later she tried it again. It was pleasing to her. She liked the sound that came out and Fancy seemed to like it, too. Charlie, however, acted more like the people and he grumbled at her. “Kid, why don’t you pipe down over there? You are making too much of a racket and if you keep it up, our people will be wanting to get rid of you”. That frightened Rosie.
Get rid of me? What did that mean? Where would they take me? Would they take me to the place everyone talked about…the dog pound? And what was that place and why was it called a pound? Or would they drive me out into the country somewhere and put me out on the side of the road to fend for myself? Oh, that was too scary to think about. Rosie decided she better watch her manners and not try to sing anymore for a while.
Rosie was just a baby when she had arrived at the place she lived with Fancy. At first, the kids paid a lot of attention to her and romped with her; threw her a ball and petted her a lot. The mom of the house was nice to her and always was the one to feed her and talk to her. But the dad seemed kind of mean. He didn’t seem to like dogs very much but his wife liked to have them around for some reason. But the pattern seemed to be that the lady would get puppies and love them until they grew up. Then the grown dogs would just disappear one day and a few weeks later, she would get another puppy.
This made Rosie wonder how long she had left to live at this place and what exactly would happen to her when she was taken away. She tried to block it out of her mind because it was just too upsetting!
One day, when Rosie was a year and a half old, a car pulled into the driveway. The lady driving the car had a leash in her hand and she was talking to the mom of the house. The two women were having a long conversation and Fancy said, “I wonder who is going for a ride?” Rosie said, “What do you mean? Go for a ride? Are we going to the vet?” Fancy said, “I don’t think so Rosie, I think one of us is leaving. I’ve seen it happen before.”
Rosie was frantic. She started barking and jumping on the fence. Charlie told her to pipe down and not draw attention to herself. He said, “Kid, you are just making it worse!” But Rosie didn’t understand. She thought if she got the mom’s attention then she would be safe.
The mom walked over to the cage and opened the door. Fancy stood and looked up at her, but she walked past Fancy and went straight to Rosie and hooked the leash onto her collar. Rosie was still optimistic. She thought maybe she was going to be paraded in front of the other lady so they could all see how beautiful she was!
But instead, she was led to the lady’s car and forced into the back seat. Her mom didn’t pet her or nuzzle her or do anything except to say, “be a good girl” and that was that. The lady got into the car and began to back down the driveway. Rosie barked and barked but nobody seemed to care how she felt. The lady in the car was trying to talk kindly to Rosie and she was saying, “It will be alright, girl. You are going to a better place now. I am taking you home to live with me.”
Rosie paced back and forth from one window to the other and she truly felt like a caged animal. What was going on? She tried to think of what she had done to deserve this. She was being tossed away like an old rag. The people in the house had not loved her at all or they would not have done this to her. Did they not understand that she was a good girl?
After a thirty-minute ride, Rosie arrived at her new house out in the country. She was taken out of the car and there was a man there who immediately said, “She is gorgeous!” Well, now that felt good! Someone appreciated her, at least for her looks! So Rosie straightened up her shoulders and walked proudly around the yard on the leash. There were other dogs there because Rosie could hear them barking inside the house. One of them sounded mean, one sounded like a little dog with a high-pitched yap, and one sounded like an older lady. The big, tall boxer guy who was on a chain outside was jumping and trying to get loose to check Rosie out. She wasn’t afraid of him, but he was acting awfully goofy so she’d just as soon he stay on his chain for now. Finally, the old lady dog came out and Rosie saw that she was another “Golden Retriever”, too. She growled a little but Rosie didn’t let that bother her. She had dealt with old dogs before and she knew you just had to be patient and let them get used to you.
Rosie overheard the new people saying things like, “She is such a pretty dog and so well behaved. Wonder why they wanted to get rid of her?” Well, at least Rosie felt like these new people appreciated her some. She wondered if they would enjoy her howling songs that she had learned. She decided that she would save that for a while and surprise them some night!
So that is how Rosie came to live at her country home. And she had been told repeatedly from the new lady that she would never have to worry about leaving this place. “This is your home now, Rosie. This is where you will live the rest of your life.” And somehow Rosie believed her. These people seemed too kind to do anything mean to animals. They had a bunch of animals of all kinds. Rosie had seen chickens and a couple of potbelly pigs and some rabbits. There were lots of cats and the other dogs. So it seemed that this was a good place to live if you were an animal. The only bad part was that one of the inside dogs did not like other female dogs, so Rosie was told that she would have a nice home outside and she would be allowed to be free and run and play sometimes. How fun!! She was looking forward to that!
Now back to Rosie’s morning and odor situation. The smell continued. It was driving Rosie nuts trying to figure out what it was and where it was coming from. Suddenly, Rosie heard a strange noise and it made her jump. She heard it again and it was getting louder. It was a kind of low-pitched moaning that turned into a higher sound and she was sure it was some kind of animal but she had never heard anything like this. Then she heard a second one, then a third. It seemed there was more than one of these animals and they were getting closer. Rosie was on guard. She sat in the middle of her home and her head jerked from one side to the other, scanning the nearby woods for whatever it was that was going to exit from them. She was tense, but kind of excited. She had heard stories of a creature called Big Foot and she wondered if he could have a family living in this hill behind her new home? The sound of hooves walking through the woods and breaking twigs became clear. Maybe it was deer, but if so, they were the clumsiest deer she had ever heard. Rosie could hear branches breaking. Her senses were heightened and her eyes were darting back and forth. She began to pace and the anticipation was phenomenal! The moaning sound of the last one had turned into a quavering “bbaaaaaahhh” sound at the end. How strange. Rosie figured Big Foot would have a better communication system than that of sheep.
And then, through an opening at the edge of the woods, Rosie saw it! I was black and furry, it was four-legged and there were huge horns sticking up off its head and curving to the side. It had snake-looking eyes and it had a beard! A beard!!!
What on earth was this strange creature? And then, following close behind was its’ family. Five more of the same type creature of various sizes came into view. They each had a different look, but they were definitely the same species. The big one that came out first was definitely the leader and seemed to be the dad. Right behind him was a female and she seemed very gentle and quieter. Then there was another big male but he stayed close to the female. He seemed to be her grown son. Then there came three babies of different ages, two girls and a boy.
They all looked at Rosie and she looked at them. Then, the big daddy one reared back and charged the fence! His head hit with such force, Rosie was surprised that he didn’t break his neck or knock himself out! Then he did it again, as if to say, “I am in charge here!” Rosie kept to the opposite side of her space so as not to upset the creatures. They all were so noisy. They made a lot of the moaning and bbaaahhing noises. And they ate very loudly. It seemed they would eat anything. They were munching on grass and weeds and even thorn bushes. And they were rude with each other, knocking each other around and butting their heads together. How strange they were. And the smell was definitely the offensive odor Rosie had smelled all morning.
This kept Rosie from her naps for the rest of the day. She was afraid to turn her back on them, for fear they might ram their horns through the fence at her. When evening came, the creatures were able to enter into the other half of the compound that was Rosie’s home. There was an identical other home on the back side of Rosie’s and there was a fence between the two living areas. Rosie had a hard time sleeping, knowing that these little monsters were sleeping just next door. Rosie had dreams that night that the black creatures had taken over the world and that they were the rulers of the woods and forests. They climbed up on mountains in her dream and they stood looking down over all the world.
The next morning, Rosie was groggy and trying to come out of her sleep. She was tired from her tossing and turning all night long. As she opened her eyes, she was lying on her side and she could see the pretty blue sky and a trace of the fading moon just over her shelter. But suddenly she was startled when she realized there were eyes looking back at her. She jumped to her feet and stared up on top of her shelter…there, looking down on her was the daddy creature and one of the babies. They were on top of Rosie’s shelter! Oh my! What if they jumped down into her home? That would be frightening! Knowing how they liked to butt their heads into things, Rosie imagined being their next target practice!
The people came down to check on Rosie and to fill her pool up with fresh water. The man said, “Well, Rosie, how do you like the goats?” Goats? Is that what these things were called? G-O-A-T-S…hhmmm, sounded like a crude enough name for such crude animals. And not only were they crude, they were rude and obnoxious. The mommy one and the big son seemed pleasant enough but the rest of them were annoying.
The people explained that the goats had been living on the other side of the hill and they needed fresh greenery to eat, so they had been moved to this side and that they would be sharing the other home attached to Rosie’s. “Great”, Rosie thought. Just great. Rosie felt she would never get another good night’s sleep!
A few days went by and Rosie was starting to get used to the goats. They were annoying still, but at least there was some noise next door and it wasn’t so boring some days. Rosie would watch the goat family and some of their strange ways of doing things. They liked to climb high, that was for sure. They liked to make their odd sounds. And they liked to eat. That was about all they did.
Then one beautiful summer night a few days later, Rosie noticed that the moon was full. The stars were out and there was a cool breeze. Rosie closed her eyes and put her nose high in the air and took a deep breath. She thought to herself, “I feel like singing”.
So she started her low sound “Ooohhhwoooooo, oohhhwoooowooo, oowwwwww, ooooowwwwwwoowwwwoowwww!” It had come out beautifully, or so Rosie thought. And it felt so good to just break loose into song.
All of a sudden, the goats jumped up to see what was going on. One of the babies said, “how did you do that?” The mommy said, “that was really nice” and the grown son said, “that was cool, do it again!” The daddy goat was not pleased. He grumbled at Rosie to be quiet, that it was nighttime and they needed to go to sleep. But Rosie did it again. And again, she got rave reviews from the goats. Even the daddy started to say he wished he could do that. And he tried but all that came out was his ugly bbaahhhh sound.
The next morning, after a wonderful night of sleep, Rosie awakened to the goats all lined up at the fence, looking in on her while she had been sleeping. She got up and stretched and yawned and asked, “What’s going on?” They all started chiming in about her howling and how great they thought it was. Rosie was trying to hide it but she was proud. She could do something that they could not and they envied her. And even Rosie’s people thought it was great that she could do this. Nobody yelled at her and nobody tried to get her to stop singing. This was truly a great place to be!
Rosie thought to herself about how she had thought she loved her first home and how she thought she would miss it when she had to leave it. She remembered grieving over the people she had left behind, though she was sure they were not grieving over losing her. She had always thought that all her wishes needed to come true in order for her to be happy.
Now Rosie understood that all wishes and prayers need not be answered in order for us to be happy. Now she knew that coming to this new home and having good people who loved her and treasured her was the best thing for her, even though she sometimes missed Fancy and wondered whatever happened to her and Charlie.
But now Rosie had new friends…unlikely friends in the form of pygmy goats. Smelly, furry, bearded little creatures who didn’t look like much, but they knew how to enjoy the simple things in life…a good nap, a good meal, hiking in the woods, and listening to a big Golden Retriever sing to the moon.