Up until his arrival, Rocky had not walked more than a step without falling directly on his face. His reaction time with his front legs was non existent. The tremors associated with this condition are called Intention Tremors. They start from a single focal location and ripple through his body. When he gets excited they become more intense, when rested very mild and while sleeping none at all. This makes rehabilitation very unique to the individual animal. Even more unique than with a human because they can’t tell us a word of what they are experiencing.
With Rocky, his age works both for and against him. His brain should respond more rapidly just as any young animal experiencing new situations every day. This will help to speed up his reaction time to obstacles and positive reinforcement for successful attempts. The down side is Rocky’s physical size will grow very quickly also. Rocky’s breed is called a Boer goat. Considered a meat breed, as apposed to dairy, they grow to be very large and heavy set with males closing in on 200lbs. As Rocky’s body grows, his brain will have to adjust foot placement and center of balance. With so many hurdles to overcome, the most incredible part of the animal world kicks in, lack of self-pity. With a will for true survival, giving up is not an option.
My responsibility to Rocky is to be his ultimate guide and caretaker through this process. Not only providing the physical means to progress but also the mental ones. Encouragement based on positive reinforcement the brain wants to survive. Food is the ultimate reward especially early in life. The body needs it and the brain knows it so coaxing with food will render a strong response to the body’s hunger. You can literally watch the connections being created from the moment the bottle or food is within view or heard. Signaling the body’s response to rise and legs to move towards the reward. Of course there is the bond we create with them emotionally, one that often defies logic. It has been proven in a recent study that goats do actually respond similar to dogs when they encounter a situation they can not solve, just by simply looking at us.
“What next?” They say.
As a rehabber, our answer is “Let me help to show you.”