To the goats I showed in high school,

During the fall of my sophomore-senior years, I had the privilege and responsibility of raising nine of you to be the best show goats you could be. That wasn't always easy. You taught me so much, though.

You taught me to be patient.

Sometimes you would decide to stop eating the food I was giving you. Other times you would get sick, and then as soon as you were getting better, you'd catch something else. When I would try to walk you around your pen to get you used to how it would be in the show ring, you usually fought me. I wanted to give up on you so many times, but I knew I never could. Your stubbornness taught me patience.

You taught me discipline.

I'm not going to lie-raising you was hard. It was hard to get up at 6am to feed you in the morning, especially after a late night marching band practice the night before. It was hard to balance my homework and getting you ready for the show. It was hard to stay active in my other clubs while also giving each of you all I had. I hope you never noticed how stressed I was, though, and I hope my tiredness never showed. You see, balancing it all was tough, but I would have done almost anything for you.

You taught me what its like to love something I won't have forever.

Whether it was selling you at state fair, or losing you sooner than expected, saying goodbye was never easy. I knew going into it each year, that I would only have you a few months. I tried to not get attached to you. In fact, my parents didn't want me to start showing because they knew I'd get attached. I told them it wouldn't, but let's be real, it was bound to happen. It's impossible to love animals as much as I do and not get attached. So when the time came to say goodbye, I cried. I cried because even though you weren't a pet, I loved you like one.

You reaffirmed what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.

I want to be a veterinarian-always have and (hopefully) always will. Spending all that time around you could have killed that dream, but instead it only made it stronger. At the end of the day, I enjoyed every second I spent with each of you. Seeing your faces at the end of a rough day always calmed me down, and I knew that being around animals was what I was made to do.

To my goats, I miss you all dearly. I miss watching you head butt each other. I miss feeding you and watching you grow. I miss the feeling when one of you did really well in a show, and getting to walk out there proudly with you by my side. I always felt like you walked a little prouder then too, even though you didn't understand what was going on. But lastly, I want to thank each of you for molding me into the person I am today. You were a handful, but you were my handful, and I'll always remember you fondly.