Rastus the Fastest
(dairy farm rescue)
Rastus the Fastest, a Nubian wether, has been here long before Tomten "officially" began. He was the first goat I saved from being
sent to slaughter. Years ago, I was intending to purchase just one goat kid as a companion for my Thoroughbred mare. Though my grandparents had raised Toggenburgs, my mother's favorite 4-H
project goat had been a spotted Nubian doe, Arabella. On her recommendation, we headed to a local Nubian breeder to look at kids. We chose a female (the late Sonia). And then we saw Rastus, a little
all-black buckling. When we learned he was going to be sold for meat, we just had to step up and get him, too. I count it as one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
Rastus is an old man now. He doesn't hold weight well anymore. His coat is dull, having lost its youthful sheen and he has slowed down as
arthritis has affected his joints and limbs. But he is still here, he is still happy and he still eagerly greets all who visit, making his
presence known until each person knows just wonderful goats can be. He welcomes each new save with steadfast calm
and certainty and we are grateful every day for his stewardship and love. The winters are hard on him and we are not
sure how much longer he will gift us with his presence; but we are thankful to have him at the farm for as long as he
chooses to stay. And stay he does, here by our side, taking it all in as though he too is proud of the farm he created. We love you, Rastus!
Note: Rastus is in retirement here at Tomten. He is not available for sponsorship, but is always receptive to receiving
donations of his favorite treat, "Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls" and expressions of love at our Farm Tours.
We went to the New Holland (PA) auction looking to rescue a few goats out of the hundreds that were there, all of them destined for slaughter.
We knew what we wanted. But how to choose who to take and who to leave behind? The goats could be any breed but could not have horns
that could unintentionally injure our horses or farm guests. No one could be small enough to fit through the fence boards we had at the
time. And, preferably, no buck goats. No open sores, no cough. It was scary how easy it was to narrow down the options on health alone.
(livestock auction rescue)
It ended up being easier than we thought. Nana picked us. Truly she did. A fawn LaMancha doe, she loudly called out to us, climbing on the
fence and pushing through the crowd when we approached. And she did this not once, not twice, but each and every time we went back to the
pen, to check to be sure— and we were. So, it was decided, instantly, that she (and her friend, LaLa, below) would come with us.
A few days later, rescued from her seemingly certain fate and safe at Tomten, Nana had a new fight ahead. She suddenly began displaying
symptoms of meningeal worm in her system, an internal parasite that affects the spinal cord. Although we had quarantined and wormed her
immediately after arrival, it is likely it had already taken its invisible hold before being sent to auction.
With the help of our amazing veterinarian, prompt administration of the right medication and the monitoring provided by volunteers Laima and
Aileen, against all odds, Nana pulled through! She does have a few lingering side effects (occasional unsteadiness and head shaking), but
our gregarious tiny-earred LaMancha loves life at Tomten and we have promised her that we will be here to get her through any and all future challenges that come her way.
Note: Nana and LaLa and all members of their breed (LaManchas) do have ears! They are just very tiny but they still
have an auditory canal and other internal structures.
LaLa LaMancha was with Nana (see above) at the New Holland auction the same day. Was she Nana's daughter? Her friend? We will never
know; but whatever the relationship, she was smart enough to let Nana do all the talking and benefited from being in the right place at the right time. We took her home, too.
(livestock auction rescue)
Both of our LaMancha does were sent to the auction with kids, their still-nursing babies. I could not get a good look at LaLa's... I saw him from
behind nursing and then he was pushed away by other goats in the pen. I would have recognized Nana's kid, but he was split from the group and
I had to choose who to keep my eyes on: the two does or him. I tried to find him as soon as I cast the winning bid on his mother, but he was gone.
Our goats came home to Tomten with full udders, but no kids to nurse and nurture. They grieved as we "dried them up," so they could now
dedicate their strength to restoring their health rather than producing milk for babies they no longer had.
Younger, slightly lighter and still content to let Nana be the leader, LaLa has since recovered from her loss and has such joie de vivre that it can
only be interpreted as a daily expression of immense gratitude.
We did not intend to bring any goats back to the farm when we headed out to the local spring livestock auction. We were on a poultry rescue
mission that day, saving some of the many "spent" hens (layers whose production numbers did not make them profitable to keep) crammed
into crates and offered in mixed lots. Seeing lots of ducks there, we considered trying to save some of them as well, knowing full well that
they wouldn't have lived too long once they arrived at their new "homes."
Norberto Pantaloné and Niccoló Nubiano
(livestock auction rescues)
But then we saw them. The two very young Nubian bucklings, looking so hopeful, so innocent… and so utterly oblivious to the danger they were
in. Note: Male babies are by-products of the goat (and cow) dairy industry—there's simply no need or desire to keep the boy babies and
they are sent to auction soon after birth. They have served their purpose—their arrival has jump-started their mother's lactation cycle
ensuring there is plenty of milk to supply the consumer milk and cheese market.
Fortunately for these little guys, Laima and Aileen, Tomten's experienced foster/quarantine team were with me at that auction.
Without hesitation, they immediately offered to step up and get these kids off to a healthy start. With a quarantine stall available, our rescue mission quickly included two baby goats.
Today Norberto Pantaloné (with his brown leg markings) and Niccoló Nubiano (whose markings are similar to a Belted Galloway cow), enjoy
each other and a lifetime of peace, protection and possibility.
Remus the Squeamish
(Personally supported resident. Not eligible for sponsorship.)
Remus is another one of our wethers. His beautiful brown and black markings are characteristic of the Oberhasli breed and he matches our
off-track thoroughbred, Sassie, perfectly! An inquisitive yet cautious guy, Remus depends upon his wise old friend Rastus (see above) to
pave the way down every path. We bought Remus as a weaned yearling (not as a kid like Rastus), which may explain his lower confidence level. (That and when you have Rastus as your best buddy,
you know he has your back in all situations!)
You may notice Remus has a partial horn. That horn is the result of a botched disbudding job that was done long before we purchased him.
(Most goats will grow horns unless they are dehorned as kids, but some are born hornless.) Every now and then our vet must make a
farm visit to trim it back. While our goats are discouraged from butting and would never intentionally hurt anyone, for the safety of humans
and all our animals, our goats, sheep and cows are all either born naturally hornless (referred to as "polled") or dehorned as part of the
quarantine/vetting period before they are introduced to the farm.
Remus and Rastus travel in the same group of friends... Abnerita the goose, the young calves we frequently rescue and horses Sassie and
Note: Remus, like Rastus, is in retirement here at Tomten. He is not available for sponsorship but can sometimes be
persuaded to receive donations of love at our Farm Tours.
Animal Sponsorship Program
Sponsor a Goat
Become an Honorary Tomten
When you sponsor Nana LaMancha, LaLa LaMancha, Niccoló Nubiano. or Norberto Pantaloné, you become an Honorary Tomten,
helping us provide peace, protection and possibility while getting to know "your" goat—even if you live thousands of miles away.
Your one-year Goat Sponsorship gives Honorary Tomtens an opportunity to make a direct impact on the lives of their favorite animal.
You'll receive lots of updates beyond our traditional public posts. And while you may not be able to be here personally, we will make sure you feel as though you are with regular
photos (including a few surprise videos) sent to your phone or email all year long!
Here's How Sponsorship Works:
Sponsors make a one-time tax-deductible donation of 50% of a goat's total estimated
yearly care expenses. Tomten Farm and Sanctuary applies those funds to the daily care of the sanctuary goat you choose to help. Upon
receipt of your donation, TF&S removes the goat from our "animals available for sponsorship" list. Then comes the exciting part: our resident Tomten waves his magic wand and
makes you an Honorary Tomten!! Next, we announce the exciting news to TF&S supporters via social media including Facebook, Instagram
and this website. (To ensure your privacy, we will share your first name, last initial only). We also encourage you to share the story behind
your sponsorship choice. And, if you like, you can also send a photo of yourself to post on this page with "your" goat. We guarantee that our goat will think you are just MAAAArvelous!
Your one-time tax-deductible donation of $750 will sponsor a Tomten goat and you will receive
Honorary Tomten status for one year. That amount is your half of the expenses incurred to support that animal—your special gift to Nana
LaMancha, LaLa LaMancha, Niccoló Nubiano. or Norberto Pantaloné, The other half is paid by a second Honorary Tomten (Sponsor) or Tomten Farm and Sanctuary if no one else
cares to step up for that animal.
However you look at it—$62.50 per month, $14.42 per week or $2.05 per day—sponsorship is
a fun and oh-so-gratifying way to provide peace, protection and possibility to animals in need, making a real difference in their day-to-day lives all year long.
Want to Start Today?
Simply go to the Donate button at the bottom of this column and indicate you want to donate
$750. Be sure to tell us which goat you want to sponsor* and our Tomten will wave his magic wand making you an Honorary Tomten this very day!
More Ways to Help
You can also donate as little as $10 per month toward supporting any animal (not just goats)
that you choose OR donate to our General Fund. We offer all kinds of other tax-deductible donation options. Click here for details.
*Sorry, we know everyone has their favorites but since each sponsorship is for 50% of care,
only two Honorary Tomtens per goat per year are available and are selected in the order they were received. Senior goats Rastus the Fastest
and Resident goat Remus the Squeamish are not available for yearly sponsorship.