As you saw from my flurry of pictures yesterday, Jenn and I spent Sunday at our friend Shelby’s farm.  We always love going over to see her and her menagerie of cute things.  One day I hope to be able to have the same luxury on my own farm instead of having to visit one.  While we were there, I also got to see some other people interacting with the animals, and I was very much reminded of something I learned as a kid.  Animals know if you are a good person, even without you doing anything wrong.

So Jenn and I go over to visit every few weeks or so.  When we are there we walk around anywhere we choose.  We always make sure to close the gates behind us, and the animals stay where they are supposed to, so Shelby doesn’t mind.  Not all of her guests are so courteous.  We walk right in with big old cows, horses that could kick me, and goats that could impale me like a kebab.  Yet we never have any fear of the animals.  We can walk up and pet any of them, and a good deal of them actually come over to us for attention.

It has been this way my entire life.  I have never been afraid of any animal except for snakes, and even that I am over now.  I simply had to pet every dog that I saw.  Even ones that were supposed to be mean, or be afraid of people.  I would just walk right up and say hello, as only a rambunctious boy can.  Since that has been my entire life, it is hard for me to comprehend any other way for this to work.

In fact, I am convinced one of the reasons that I am married to my wonderful wife is because her dog Maggie loved me right away.  When I went over to her house for the first time, she warned me that Maggie didn’t like guys.  She had been abused by one.  So I would have to go slow around her.  Well, the first time I came into the house,  Maggie ran up and started sniffing me,then immediately got so excited she peed.  I would say that’s a ringing endorsement for the new boyfriend.

I was made aware of how else it works when we were over on Sunday.  Unlike normal, we weren’t along at the farm on Sunday. There were some other guests there doing things, or waiting on milk.  I had never met these people before, so we were making small talk, and actually ended up promoting our book to some folks who were thinking of getting chickens.  My wife is much more socially outgoing than I am, so she was talking about chickens, and I was hanging out petting goats and watching the situation.

There were 4 baby animals in the yard that had never seen any of us before, so they were the best test.  You couldn’t even say they were familiar with us.  These animals would come right up to me, flop all over me, and just wanted to be loved in general.  If you didn’t know, baby goats and puppies basically have the same motivations in life.  Eat, sleep and be petted.  These guys were adorable and wouldn’t leave me alone.

I was holding one, that I called Whitey for almost 10 minutes, with no problem.  He was nuzzling against me and being adorable.  Two other folks started to come out into the yard, and asked if they could hold one.  Having no reason to not trust them, I handed over whitey to be held.  The moment he made contact with them, he started screaming as only a little goat can do.  He did calm down after a minute, but he would still bleat every so often.

Why?  This goat didn’t know me any better than it knew him?  I am not even saying they were bad people, but it is something that gave me pause.  Animals have the ability to sense things about people that we will never be able to understand.  They have a sense of our energies, maybe even more than we do.  So the next time your dog starts barking at someone, or your goat starts screaming, maybe you should look closer at the person, and less at the animal.

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