Our two goaties giving each other some lovin’

Raising backyard farm animals has had its good times and sad times.  Especially when you interact with your animals on a daily basis they become part of your extended family.

So this article really hit home because we’ve dealt with many a loss here on the urban homestead (we remember our departed critters on the left side bar of this journal)

Are We Brave Enough to Love?

… nature challenges us: Can we love the world around us unsentimentally? Our enormous achievements have brought most of the planet more or less under our control. Now that we have this powerful role in the world, are we capable of accepting our responsibility

Read full article at Mother Earth News

How has raising animals affected your life?  Care to share?


  1. Cindie K. says:

    It’s a tough issue for me, that animals are so fragile, and generally have much shorter lifespans than humans. We have gone from 16 animals (who have their own rooms in our house!) to 11. Two of those are sick currently, our hedgie and a guinea pig who will be going to the doctor this week. I find it a challenge to allow myself to attache to them, when they leave so soon. I have great admiration for those folks who can whole-heartedly love their animal babies without thinking of their own pain at the end.

  2. V Schoenwald says:

    It is a very tough issue, especially when you place animals and pets into your life knowing that you will say goodbye at some time. I do critical care for a humane society and the cases I get are heart breaking to say the least, and it is hard, but I keep a stiff upper lip, for my patients so not to place bad karma upon them especially when they are badly injured and stressed as it is. I also find it almost beyond my spirit to clean up a mess that someone else created by being cruel to the very creature that I have taken it upon myself to try to fix and get well. I am proud to say, I have had (many) successful healings from all my patients and they have gone on to happy homes, including my own, especially my disabled pets.

  3. Charles LM says:

    My mother recently had her terminally ill 19 year-old cat euthanized at the vet. I knew this would be difficult for her so I agreed to go along. It was as if she were bidding farewell to a human being. I was sad for her but also a bit annoyed. Animals are wonderful creatures of God, but they are ANIMALS. People too often make them into surrogate children. This strikes me as unhealthy for both human and animal.

  4. kerrie says:

    i think there is a real problem when people take on many animals-particularly livestock-and leave them unattended all day while they go to work. i hear about this very thing more and more. this is the first i’ve seen where the owner actually sounds like he is taking responsibility for a certain amount of neglect. others are far too nonchalant about losing animals. they seem to want to just chalk it up-‘oh well, that’s just life on the farm’. i think homesteading is good and it is needed, but it needs to be done the way you all are doing-there is someone minding the animals.

  5. The Herbal Kitty says:

    I hear blame in some of the comments; we would all love to live as self-sufficiently as our hosts here at Path to Freedom =) but many of us are just starting out on this journey and, in my case, I live alone. I love my animals very, very much but I am not so self-sufficient yet that I can afford to stay home with them 24/7. However, I do my best to provide my animal family with a safe and healthy environment while I’m away working at a “day” job; I’m sure there are many others on this journey in similar situations. I also heard a certain degree of callousness in regard to how deeply someone should love an animal. I don’t think the amount of love one bestows should be cut off at a certain level or depth because it’s an “animal”–for many of us, there is no catagory other than “life” and I refuse to hold that life at arm’s length. I currently have dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. I love them all and I mourn each loss. In the not-so-distant future I plan to add goats, sheep, chickens and ducks to the mix. I don’t eat beef, swine, poultry, chervon or mutton, or wear leather or suede; these animals, besides being pets/companions will be raised for fiber for hand-spinning (goats/sheep), eggs, natural pest repellent (ducks/chickens) and compost. And, while I understand and respect other people’s food choices, for myself this cat/dog/goat, etc. is a living, breathing entity that has shared my life. They are my friends and, oftentimes, my animals have been far more comforting to me than many of my human friends! They are never too busy/too stressed/too impatient with me or my short-comings. They love and accept me as I am; they are the ultimate example of unconditional love. It has been 5 years since I lost my dog, Hooch. I still blubber uncontrollably when I think about him. If that’s unhealthy, so be it. I would rather be unhealthy than heartless. It is always painful to lose a member of my animal family. But, for me, the joy that they bring into my life makes it all worthwhile and I am reminded that the “depths of one’s sorrow is a measure of the love that’s been lost”. I feel that way about all of my loved ones–both human and humane. For me, there is no division.

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