I’ve slept in all sorts of accommodations all around the world from 5-star hotels in Morocco and Peru to a home stay with a Mayan family in Guatemala and a Gwi family in Thailand to ocean front bungalows in Belize and the Philippines. As wonderful as these experiences were, they simply can not compare with my most recent accommodation in the village of Watkins Glen, New York.
Despite the fact that I stayed in a double-room suite, each room was very small and the cinder block walls were painted white with no hanging pictures of any kind. The toilet was down the hall and the room had no TV, no bedside table and no complimentary bottles of shampoo or bars of soap. The twin mattress offered no support and a sleeping bag and small dingy pillow replaced the standard hotel bedding. In addition, the accommodation was noisy, the lights were bright and the thermostat was set to cold.
So what made this the best hotel room ever? I was willing to forgo all sorts of conveniences and comforts for the opportunity to share this accommodation with three special roommates.
Sally is a very shy fainting goat. After doing a little research I learned that the muscles of a fainting goat will suddenly stiffen when the goat is excited or afraid, causing them to fall down. This very unique characteristic and defense mechanism generally lasts a few seconds and then the goat is up and moving again.
Although Sally mostly kept to herself usually in one of the corners of the room, she made sure to keep an eye on me throughout the night. Thankfully, my presence there did not scare her enough to cause her to faint.
Tracy is a calm and curious sheep who was pregnant at the time, the very reason for my sleepover at Farm Sanctuary. I was to look for signs of going into labor, such as water breaking and lip curling, and report them immediately to the Farm Sanctuary staff. No such activity occurred on my shift.
Only a few days later, Tracy gave birth to a boy named Hazelton, who, understandably, became the center of attention. As any good mother would, Tracy became concerned with her baby, working hard to ensure that her baby was getting enough milk and thoroughly checking out anyone that came close to her son.
Louise is a very sweet, gentle and kind sheep who was pregnant with twins at the time of my sleepover. Louise seemed very curious about me, always coming over to smell me from head to toe and inquisitively tilting her head slightly. Once I awoke in the middle of the night to find Louise standing next to my cot, watching me sleep. Another time I woke up because she and Tracy were both breathing on my neck.
A couple weeks later I witnessed Louise give birth to healthy twin boys: Reuben and Summer.
The new Mom switched her primary focus to her sons and their well-being. I felt so honored when she allowed me to spend time with her young children. One of my favorite memories was when I shared a siesta one afternoon with the entire family and little Reuben fell asleep on my lap.
Jon is the only male in the group and is the father of both Tracy and Louise’s babies. He is big, gentle and cuddly and his curiosity knows no bounds. He woke me up a couple times in the middle of the night by nibbling on my hair.