Dotty: Strength After Tragedy #AnimalRescue

When officers with the Finger Lakes SPCA came to a property to confiscate abandoned dogs, they found Dotty, too. This sweet goat was not only living outside without adequate food, water, or shelter — in the dead of winter — but she was also suffering from a parasite infestation and hobbling on a leg that had been broken and left untreated.

The beautiful muzzle of our beautiful girl

Dotty and her gal pal Gloria

Lovin’ the weeds here

Scratching that sudden itch!



Because of Dotty’s disability, the SPCA needed to find a facility that could provide experienced care for a goat with special needs while they prosecuted the property owner — so she came to us. That was four years ago this winter.


Peeking out of the doorway of her newest barn!

A month after her arrival, we were granted legal custody of Dotty, ensuring that she would be safe forever from the person who had exposed her to suffering and the threat of a slow death.


During our first months together, we discovered some very important things about Dotty which make her the very special goat that she is.

Physically, she has a broken knee and very deformed back leg. Surgeons were not comfortable working on this leg, fearing that they could actually cause more damage, and with NSAIDs the leg is actually not painful for her.


That said, if the condition gets worse she will eventually require intervention, but for now this very special goat is happy with what she has. We work with vets to carefully evaluate each animal as an individual in order to determine the best course of action, and often surgery is not the best plan. Of course, the plan can always change, but for now Dotty is comfortable and very active.


She was a bit frightened when she arrived, but now our girl is loving life and the people she meets.

Besides Dotty’s physical ailments, we also discovered that she has some deep psychological issues. Our first interactions with her made it clear that she had likely been physically abused, and she was frightened to be touched at all. She would scream when we caught her in order to do even the most basic of treatments — and this didn’t just happen the first time we treated her, but went on for years. Her level of fear was heartbreaking but not surprising, because the dogs from that rescue had also been also physically abused.


Dotty lounging around in the yard.

We also discovered that, as is the case with all animals who have been abused, Dotty needed time to figure us out — and a little help from her friends.


Gloria and Dotty — cud-chewing buddies.

So who would she live with? We had a very special group of goats, all of whom had come to us from abuse cases, and all of whom had special health needs. This seemed to be the best fit for Dotty — and indeed it was. Her new best pals were the amazing Gloria goat and the equally awesome Juniper. These two brought our very frightened Dotty out of her shell and gave her the strength and support of a family to help her lose her fear of humans.


Dotty an her original crew — with Juniper to her left and Gloria showing her little face. 

When she was ready to show love to the humans, Dotty decided that she would come up and gently put her cheek against your cheek — which became her signature greeting, and something that is just hers.


The loving cheek-to-cheek move that is our Dotty!

Sadly, Dotty outlived both of these older goat gals, and after their passing she was left alone again. We tried putting her with potential friend after potential friend, but again she sank back into her frightened self. Then she was put with two very old girls, Ami and Ebez.


Ami and Ebez growing old together. These two had about three teeth between them at the time this photo was taken!

These two girls were the best of pals and quite happy as a duo, but they accepted Dotty, though she was not nearly as close with them as she had been with her old gal pals. But then Ami, the elder of the two, passed away, and Dotty and Ebez (who was old and completely toothless at the time) became best friends and started to truly rely on each other.


Dotty, front, shown with the beautiful Ami coming up to say hello. Ami was the queen of the tiny trio, and is a very missed member of our family. 

And then just a few months ago, our old friend Ebez passed away, and Dotty sank into a depression. Although the older goats she had roomed with were easy on her, the fact that they’d had so little time together was so incredibly hard, and Dotty was so clearly sad by yet another loss.


Two gals living in the heated Rescue Barn this past winter. They spent a very happy few years together.  

So this time, after a lot of thinking about the best fit, Dotty is now with a few of our younger goat people.


Dotty and her new people. She has a sister and a tiny little niece goat kid! 

And she is loving it.


This is the most enthusiasm we’ve seen from Dotty in months, following the loss of her best friend Ebez.

She is like a kid again, and we could not be happier.


The Stink Eye given with a whole lot of love. This little mother-daughter duo has given Dotty a reason to live, and a reason to act like a kid again.

And neither could Dotty!


Dotty is all smiles with her new little family!

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