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Goat crisis spurs search

Hello again, friends and fellow travelers. I come before you today with an announcement and an alert.

First the announcement: a stellar column written by your humble narrator last July – which ran under the headline "Writer reports his foray into farming" – has won me a prestigious promotion.

I am now the official goat and chicken reporter for a media juggernaut that has become, by default, the lone surviving voice in a vast area that stretches from Bonsall to Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Hemet and Anza.

I don't take this responsibility lightly, and I have a pedigree to prove I am worthy of this duty.

Beyond my family's farm roots and my own little hobby farm, I have spun many an agricultural story over my 43 years in this wacky business. My crowning glory in this field came in 1985, when I was thrilled to be named an Honorary Chapter Farmer by the Lompoc High School's Future Farmers of America chapter.

Top that, Woodward and Bernstein!

But enough about me and my amazing achievements. Now onto the alert.

"Sunshine" and "Gerard" have gone missing and Lara De Ann "Mama Goat" wants them back. I knew this situation was serious when my publisher, Julie Reeder, asked me to nose around. Before long, I was communicating with Lara via phone, text messages and email.

She is heartbroken over her circumstances – the gnawing uncertainty over the condition and whereabouts of her "boys." She misses them so much that she has offered $2,000 to buy them back from their current caretaker.

Lara initially sent me a 1½-page note that detailed the dilemma and poured out her heart to her four-legged friends.

"... I love you. I love you so completely. You are everything to me. I am envisioning bliss, starting now, with you back in my life. Cuddling, playing, singing praise to you both. We understand each other ... "

Surely, this tragedy deserves coverage, I urged my line editor.

I soon learned more about Lara. She is a 55-year-old vegan who currently spends a lot of time in Indio caring for her 85-year-old mother who is struggling with a range of health issues.

Lara was born and raised in California and attended college in San Diego. She said she was ordained by the Alliance of Divine Love. She describes herself as "an ordained spiritual/metaphysical/mystical/non-religious reverend."

As part of her ministry, for a fee she provides insightful guidance and performs weddings, memorial services and house blessings. She also has several side gigs.

She produces wall art that features her poetry. She sells World Peace Necklaces, animal birthday cards and poetic greeting cards. She does editing and proofreading work, helping folks with college applications, essays, poetry, letters. memos and more.

She seeks donations for animal causes and her goal of "creating my own goat sanctuary and healing center."

She writes a blog about various subjects, including several essays that I found helpful in my floundering efforts at being a caregiver to my two goats, "Honey" and "Miguel," whom I have lovingly nicknamed "Stupid 1" and "Stupid 2."

One of Lara's blog posts extolled: "Once you meet goats and sit with them, play with them, cuddle, nuzzle, brush, sing to, socialize with, you can never go back. They get under your skin, into your heart and begin to possess your mind so that you think about them a lot."

That blog post made me realize I've been a horrible goat companion for more than a year.

Lara began her love affair with goats after her soulmate committed suicide when he was 24. A petting zoo goat, "Patches" helped Lara through her anguish.

Then another goat, "Rocky" took up the task when Lara encountered difficulties at the petting zoo. "Rocky picked up Lara's shattered heart and healed her grief," according to her website. Rocky later became gravely ill and died.

Sunshine helped Lara through Rocky's loss and other emotional hurts. Then Gerard came into Lara's life. The goats have had to bounce from farm to farm because Lara isn't able to afford property of her own in an area that permits goats.

Most recently, Sunshine and Gerard were staying at a Temecula ranch. But the ranch was sold in November, leaving Lara the unwelcome challenge of finding the pair a new home in our costly, rapidly urbanizing area. She had no luck.

The new owner agreed to care for Sunshine and Gerard, but the task was apparently too taxing. Thus, Sunshine and Gerard were given away as part of a herd of eight goats, and the new ranch owner won't reveal the name nor the location of the person who has the herd now.

Lara doesn't want to name the woman who gave away her goats nor portray anyone in a bad light. She admits making some missteps along the way. She just wants her boys back.

If you've got a line on Sunshine and Gerard, Lara can be contacted through http://www.FundraiserForAnimals.com.

As for me, it's time to wag my tail and end this tale. I need to serenade my goats now, I think I'll sing Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue" to them.

 

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